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Teacher Education

Kids and Teachers Grow Through STEM Club

Kids playing with slime
Photo courtesy of the South Franklin Community Center

The South Franklin Community Center provides the people of south Provo with resources, programs, and a sense of community. One of the center’s most impactful programs is the after-school STEM Club run by McKay School professor Ryan S. Nixon.

Once a week the STEM Club meets at the community center, where about 15 to 20 students ages four to 14 attend regularly. McKay School elementary education students teach the club, planning lessons around the students’ interests and covering a wide variety of topics, including aviation, agriculture, anatomy, engineering, and chemistry.

“A program like this is great because it is a service to the community and helps the kids who attend, but it is also beneficial for McKay School of Education (MSE) students,” Nixon says. “Not only do they have a job, but they are getting teaching experience.”

STEM Club activities help children learn and grow, but they are also educational experiences for the McKay School student teachers, who gain from unusual opportunities such as planning lessons for a wide age range of students and coping with highly irregular attendance.

Educator Preparation Program

A No-Holds-Barred Endorsement:

BYU’s educator preparation programs have received full accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), granted for seven years. CAEP did not call out any areas for improvement or stipulations in its report. “This accreditation decision represents many hours of diligent work by our program faculty,” says Brent W. Chowen, director of the Educator Preparation Program Accreditation Office. “It is rare for CAEP to grant full accreditation without adding at least one area for improvement. Our graduates may go forward with confidence that employers will recognize the strength of the BYU program based upon this CAEP recognition.” Read more here.

Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling

Impactful Program is Permanent:

The McKay School’s Research–Practice Partnership is now an ongoing program supporting research projects within the BYU–Public School Partnership, which includes five Utah school districts: Alpine, Jordan, Nebo, Provo City, and Wasatch County. In 2020, the BYU President’s Innovation Fund financed the Research–Practice Partnership pilot project. In January 2022, the pilot’s status was moved to ongoing, with three concept projects under consideration for full funding. The partnership is mutually beneficial, with BYU and educators working together to tackle problems in the classroom through analysis and implementation of solutions that improve classroom learning.

Educational Leadership and Foundations

Winning Fowler Released-Time Research:

Brady Stimpson smiling
Photo courtesy of Brady Stimpson

Graduate student Brady Stimpson earned the William and Patricia Fowler Award from the National Education Finance Academy for his research on the fiscal impact of released-time programs on public education. The award includes $3,000 for research and travel to the academy’s 2023 conference. Stimpson began his career as a high school English teacher in inner-city Detroit, where his experiences with systemic inequities and poor policy led him to jointly pursue a master’s degree at the McKay School and a juris doctor from BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. “It has been a great experience so far,” Stimpson says in a BYU Graduate Studies video released this year. “I’m hoping to focus my research on international education development, education in peace-building, and prevention of violent extremism through religious education policy.” Stimpson plans to work in policy analysis and advocacy and then pursue a PhD.

Communication Disorders

Woman teaching college students
Photo by Bradley Slade

Professor Presents:

Kristine M. Tanner, associate professor of communication disorders, will present a one-hour, in-person presentation and an in-person poster session at the 2022 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, in November. Tanner will speak on voice and upper airway issues, focusing on the effects of external laryngeal vibration on phonation threshold pressure for her in-person poster session. She will present on the American Board of Voice and Upper Airway Disorders Specialization for her one-hour oral seminar. Tanner has received more than 20 awards and scholarships since starting graduate school at BYU in 1997. In addition to teaching, she consults at the Voice Disorders Center in Salt Lake City.

Instructional Psychology and Technology

Website Boosts Learning Globally:

A free curriculum website developed and maintained by BYU Instructional Psychology and Technology professor Royce Kimmons is enriching education around the world. Kimmons’s website,, provides students and educators with free, high-quality textbooks—many written by or that include contributions from McKay School professors. The content is used by both institutions and informal learners, with an average of 100,000 users per month and more than a million in the past year. “We estimate that our expert authors have saved students millions of dollars in textbook and journal access fees by providing high-quality educational content for free,” Kimmons says.

Counseling Psychology and Special Education

Part of a larger BYU campaign, the ad features the work of McKay School faculty Ryan Kellems, Cade Charlton, and Jared Morris using an animated social skills coach to help kids with autism improve their conversation skills. Variations of the ad are appearing in select airports and in many print and online locations around the country.

Benefit of the World Ad Campain