FALL 2009
Vol. 40, No. 2
An Education in the Present and the Past
By Kathleen Foley
The School of Education Celebrates 100 Years
By George Yatchisin
Archaeologist Disputes Beliefs About Maya Civilization Collapse
By Andrea Estrada
Around Storke Tower:
News & Notes From the Campus
Research Roundup:
DigitalOcean Immerses Youth in Marine Ecosystems
Sports Roundup:
Multiple Gaucho Teams Make It to NCAA
Alumni Authors: From Pilots to Politics
’50s to the Present
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Cover: Tina McEnroe M.A. '89 refurbished an old-fashioned, one-room, wooden schoolhouse and shares its history with today's elementary school students.
Credit: Trevor Povah

A School of Education Time Capsule

By Wes Gibson and George Yatchisin

School of EducationIt is fitting that the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education’s recognition of alumni, who so nobly represent the success of the first “100 Years of Preparing Educators” at UC Santa Barbara and its antecedents, should begin with a posthumous celebration of Clarence L. Phelps.

In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that UC Santa Barbara would almost certainly not exist as the world-class university we know today without the vision and extraordinary leadership of the man who directed its evolution from his appointment in 1918 as president of Santa Barbara State Normal School of Manual Arts and Home Economics to his becoming the first provost of the University of California, Santa Barbara College in 1944.

Soon after his arrival in Santa Barbara and at a time when “Normal Schools” across the state were facing serious challenges, President Phelps used his professional contacts from Stanford and political connections in Sacramento to secure legislation that expanded a limited two-year program for preparing teachers to a four-year program that would grant its first bachelor of education degree in 1924.

Phelps’ planning, attention to detail, and tenacity on behalf of his school were legendary. His son Waldo would recall many years later how his father walked to the college’s Riviera campus the morning after the devastating Santa Barbara earthquake in 1925 to survey damage to the buildings. Within hours, Phelps had generated a list of needed repairs and formally submitted a budget request to Sacramento. The funding was approved immediately.

While Phelps continued to vigorously support the traditional education majors that were the hallmark of Santa Barbara Teachers College, he also endorsed an expansion of offerings in the liberal arts. This led to the College’s first granting of B.A. degrees in history and English in 1930 and to the legislature designating the campus Santa Barbara State College in 1935.

Over the following decade, the high quality of Santa Barbara State College’s programs and faculty under Phelps leadership, along with his genuine interest in the needs and concerns of students, led to the college’s enhanced reputation and a dramatic increase in enrollment. This would set the stage for the discussions that led to the inclusion of Santa Barbara State College into the University of California.

The School of Education is honored to have occupied Phelps Hall continuously (in harmony with several other university departments) since 1970, and the building has served it well, providing the facilities necessary to attract and support top faculty and students for almost 40 years. In September 2009, the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education moved to a new building -- dedicated to research, professional training, and clinical programs that promote the healthy development of children, adolescents, and adults in schools and the larger society.

Clarence Phelps would be proud.

Alumni Memories

Leo Butts recalls graduating with his B.A. in elementary education on “July 10, 1938, and then my intended Nellie and I were married at the Montecito Presbyterian Church at 4 o’clock that afternoon.” Butts would go on to have a long career as a teacher, principal, and superintendent in Santa Paula and Ventura, but he hasn’t forgotten how “the professors took a special interest in you. I would nod off in one class – since my name began with a ‘B’ I sat in the front row – and Professor Jacobs would put his arm around me and ask, ‘Are you getting enough sleep?’ ” Butts ended up at the college thanks to an alumnus, his high school coach Keith Gunn. “He probably graduated in the ‘20s,” Butts reminisced. “He actually drove me to Santa Barbara and got me enrolled -- I owe him much of course.”

Grace (Thompson) Altus, who earned her B.A. in junior high school education in 1944, didn’t need a ride to Santa Barbara as her family lived a few blocks from the old Riviera campus. She explains, “My family had all gone to Stanford, but this was still the tail end of the Depression, so my sister and I had to stay close to home.” Altus taught for several years but then went back to school, earning a Ph.D. in educational psychology from UC Berkeley. She says, “In 1951 I married my former Psych 1A professor, William Altus. He was still on the [Santa Barbara] campus as head of the Psychology Department.” After a break to raise three daughters, Altus returned to work as a school psychologist in the Goleta Union District where she worked until 1989. She also remembers that current Chair of the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology Michael Furlong was one of her interns while he attended UC Santa Barbara.

Michito “Frank” Fukuzawa had a very different Word War II experience. The Santa Barbara native and his family were sent to the Japanese internment camp in Gila River, Ariz., until he was permitted to sign up for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team composed primarily of Nisei. After serving his country honorably fighting in Europe, Fukuzawa returned to Santa Barbara on the GI Bill to earn a B.A. and his teaching credential in 1952. He later earned a master’s at California Lutheran University and taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 35 years, retiring in 1985. During those years, he moved into the field of special education, working on Project Mainstream.

While Fukuzawa headed south with his degree, Glenda Lloyd (B.A. ‘62) says, “I graduated mid-year so just started up the 101 interviewing in each town until I got a job. I wound up working in Santa Maria for a year and a half.” The Goleta campus was still in its infancy, and Lloyd remembers the initial dorm building during her tenure. “I was an early childhood education major, and at that point that program was very strong,” she recalls. “It was led by Miss Edith Leonard and Miss Van Devner. You toed the line for those two old ladies.” Lloyd later received a master’s from Sacramento State in reading and worked, mostly as a reading specialist, for 38 years. One highlight of her career was a four-year stint working in Palo Alto with the acclaimed Schools Without Failure program put together by William Glasser.

Among the first Ph.D. students at the school was Frank Cox (Education ‘72) who had been teaching at Santa Barbara City College beginning in 1962 and worked at SBCC until he retired in 1989. He also stresses how important his time in the Army during the Korean War was as “that two-year hiatus got me in contact with the real world.” As for his experience in the early days of the doctoral program, he recalls Professor John Cotton as a fine mentor who helped him get a visiting scholar position at Northwestern where he conducted a study of the then new Head Start Program. Cox has authored 18 books -- “my writing was a way to take high level material and make it accessible to the lay person, often freshmen and sophomores” -- and his book “Human Intimacy: Marriage, the Family, and Its Meaning” will be released in its 11th edition soon.

Claudine Michel (Education Ph.D. ‘85) is just one of the shining examples of scholars brought to the School of Education thanks to Murray Thomas’s International Education Program. “While in graduate school, I was affectionately called by some of my professors, ‘Ms. Sesame Street of Haiti,’ ” she reports, as from 1970 to the early 2000s she produced children’s educational television programs (Dodo Titit and Parol Ti Moun) for Haitian National Television. She still cherishes “the International Education Program's gatherings and the precious moments of cultural and intellectual exchanges and true camaraderie.” Michel is currently professor in the Department of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara and director of the Center for Black Studies Research. She says, “Over the past 10 years, the thrust of my work has been to find ways of redressing misconceptions about Haiti, its history, its people and offering new bodies of knowledge through my scholarship and community involvement.” She is currently editor of the premier academic journal on Haiti, The Journal of Haitian Studies.

Theda Zawaiza (Education Ph.D. ‘90) writes that “My UCSB education and experiences allowed me to ascend in my field and open doors where I didn’t even know there were going to be doors! That solid foundation allowed me to pursue my dedication to eliminating student achievement gaps through early intervention; and challenging educators to become change agents, relinquishing obsolete belief systems and amplifying the notion of collective efficacy.” Zawaiza has held numerous positions as a policy analyst in Washington, D.C., currently working as an Education Program Specialist for the U.S. Department of Education. In addition to “learning how to research and analyze education policy issues in my doctoral program,” she recalls other moments, such as “when then program head Melvyn and Dr. Dorothy S. Semmel, his wife, opened their home to students and professors alike. I can still see Mel as he stroked his head and goatee, pondering how he’d respond to a question without giving away the answer; the Socratic method in all its glory.”

Maria Smith Alvarez (Counseling Psychology Ph.D. ‘03) says, “Being both a counseling psych Ph.D. and having completed the school psych credential means I have been able to compete for and obtain a variety of highly desirable positions. The diversity training, research experience, and cognitive assessment training using assessments other than the WISC [Wechsler Intelligence Scale]-family of tests have each been real assets in my career both in interviewing and actual work role activities.” After working in several positions in Los Angeles, first with adoptive families and then as a Child Health Works coordinator for children 0-5, Smith Alvarez “moved to Northern California near my parents in order to slow down and start a family.” She now works as a “school psychologist for a small school district, as a clinician for a local non-profit health clinic (seeing mostly children and Spanish speaking clients), and developing my small private practice while parenting my twins with my wonderful husband/co-parent.”

This story first appeared in the magazine Profiles in Education 2008-09.