Boilermaker Educator Fall 2022.
A magazine from the Purdue College of Education.
Phil VanFossen

Message from the Interim Dean

It’s a pleasure to share with you our new e-magazine, Boilermaker Educator!  We hope this new format will make it easier for you to stay in touch with what’s happening in the College of Education.

I’ve been serving as Interim Dean since June 2022, and my goals include: (1) advocating for the College at every turn, (2) sharing our story with internal and external constituencies, and (3) maintaining the momentum we’ve developed over the last few years. 

We see this momentum in the past year’s hiring of 15 new faculty members and 18 new staff, and with the roll-out of our  Innovation Initiative (I2) with very positive feedback from our teacher education students and our school-based partners. Our new faculty – across both departments – have injected excitement and energy and have already had a discernible impact on the College.

Earlier this year, Associate Dean Kathy Obenchain had the brilliant idea to have the Education Deans of the four large public universities (Purdue, IU, Ball State, ISU) advocate for the increase in college-going among graduating high school seniors, and also to address the nationwide teacher shortage. I suggested the group write an op-ed for the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ), which was published in October.

Recently I’ve used a metaphor from economics in order to get folks to share their successes: we are not a commodity—like a bushel of wheat— interchangeable with every other College of Education. Rather than “wheat” we need to be viewed as “quinoa” ! As you can see from the wide-ranging topics in this issue, there is much we can celebrate. I hope you enjoy reading about what makes us quinoa!

We congratulate our newest alumni, graduating on December 17, and welcome you alongside us as Boilermaker Educators. Please connect with us via LinkedIn and our other social media channels (see the end of this magazine for links).

Wishing you the very best of the holiday season and New Year,

Phillip VanFossen, Interim Dean, College of Education
Positive Psychology Grant recipients

Recent Big Grants

Lisa Lane in classroom

5 Alumni named Golden Apple Award Winners

The county’s top teachers, recently named Golden Apple Award winners by Greater Lafayette Commerce, aren’t only aiming for good students—they hope their work helps shape good people.

Leibniz University Hannover teachers standing by welcome message.

Leibniz University Hannover scholars visit college, partner in teaching

A group of Language Education and Special Education scholars from Leibniz University Hannover (LUH), Germany, visited Purdue this fall as part of a new international research and teaching partnership with the College of Education.

Phil Cook smiling with chemistry equipment

Purdue podcast interviews alum Phil Cook

“This Is Purdue” podcaster Kate Young interviewed Boilermaker Educator alum, chemistry teacher and TikTok superstar Phil Cook.



On-campus leaders in online education: Purdue College of Education

The College of Education’s Purdue Online program jumped from #42 to #22 this year in the U.S. News & World Report  rankings for online education programs.

Marcia Gentry

Remembering Marcia Gentry

Our friend and colleague, Marcia Gentry, passed away on August 31, 2022. We reflect on Professor Gentry’s remarkable career and groundbreaking contributions to the field of Gifted, Talented, and Creative Education.

“You have made the choice to help make student aspirations and faculty ambitions a reality,” says Chelsea J. Coursey, the College’s chief development officer. “No matter the area within our college that you choose to support, your generosity will have a significant impact.”

Donate to the College of Education via Purdue Connect.

What do you think of our new e-magazine, Boilermaker Educator? Do you have suggestions or ideas for things to include in the next issue? Please email them to