September 2012 Archives

Janet Hardcastle Retires from SSU After 25 Years of Service

By Pamela Van Halsema on September 28, 2012 10:31 AM

Janet Hardcastle with framed picture of SSUJanet Hardcastle retires today after twenty five years of dedicated service to Sonoma State University.  When she started working here in 1987, her first position was with the Intensive Learning Experience Program for the Communication Studies Department.  But shortly after that, she took a position with the School of Education, where she has worked ever since.  From 1989-2001 Janet worked as the assistant to the dean in the School of Education, before transitioning to the world of educational technology grant work, where she has truly made her mark over the last decade.  Janet has been the administrator of three major federal grant projects sponsored by U.S. Department of Education, and has worked closely with teams of faculty from Sonoma State and other partner institutions.  These projects include Light Bridge:  Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology, Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology (EnACT) and EnACT - Partnerships, Technology and Collaboration, EnACT-PTD.

Janet Hardcastle retirement viewTwo weeks ago, the campus celebrated her retirement with a send-off party hosted by the School of Education.  Faculty and staff from across campus, as well as other retired SSU people and family members came together at the Terrace Room and Patio at the Commons to thank Janet for all the good work she has done for Sonoma State, and to wish her well.  Colleagues Gayle Graff, Jim Fouche, Brett Christie and Emiliano Ayala praised her for years of professionalism, precision, dedication and collegiality.  They credited her with much of the success of their grant work, because she brought so much knowledge and expertise to the complex world of federal grants.  Janet was at the hub of all their work, and for that they are forever grateful.

The School of Education presented Janet with a commemorative Waterford vase and a framed picture with photographs of campus to mark the occasion.  Janet noted that she loves Sonoma State’s beautiful campus, and while she will no longer be working here, you will likely in the future see her here taking a walk, maybe pushing one of her grandchildren’s strollers, enjoying the beauty of the trees and gardens here at Sonoma State, truly taking time to make the most of her retirement.

Melba Patillo Beals, Member of 'Little Rock Nine' to Speak at SSU September 27

By Pamela Van Halsema on September 10, 2012 10:24 AM


Sonoma State welcomes Melba Pattillo Beals to campus on September 27, 7:00 PM in the Cooperage.  Beals is a journalist and member of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who were the first to integrate Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas. Beals' book Warriors Don't Cry chronicles the events of 1957 during the Little Rock crisis, based partly on diaries she kept during that period. She also wrote White is a State of Mind, which begins where Warriors left off. 

In 1958, the NAACP awarded the Spingarn Medal to Beals and to the other members of the Little Rock Nine, together with civil rights leader Daisy Bates, who had advised the group during their struggles at Central High. In 1999, she and the rest of the Nine were awarded the highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. Only three hundred others have received this. Beals will be discussing her book and experiences.

This events is free, but you need a ticket to attend. Stop by the SSU Student Union Box Office to get a ticket. Tickets will be available to select freshman classes this week, and opened up to the community starting Monday, September 17.

Check out a clip here about Beals and how she grew to love learning, books and libraries:

Technology Infusion Challenge

By Pamela Van Halsema on September 5, 2012 2:16 PM

illustration of a laptop computer

As part of Sonoma State University's ongoing effort to improve student learning for all, the School of Education is launching its first Tech Infusion Challenge. The Tech Infusion Challenge is a project sponsored by the CSU Digital Learning Ambassadors Program and the Google Education Division.

School of Education students and a faculty partner are invited to design a lesson in mathematics, science or language arts that infuses technology in teaching based on a lesson the student observed at Sonoma State. The best lesson selected and re-designed will be awarded $600.

  • Consider a lesson that you observed at SSU and how it might be improved.
  • Invite a faculty member to be a partner in redesigning the lesson.
  • Prepare an alternative lesson that infuses technology to help convey subject content and skills. Work collaboratively.
  • Four workshops will be offered throughout the semester to assist with your technology planning and implementation.
  • Submit your lesson (e.g., *video link, webpage, presentation) with any additional instructional materials that would be used by students (*video no longer than 10 minutes).
  • Each submission will be reviewed by a panel of faculty.
  • First Prize $600
  • Second Prize $400.

Dr. Sandy Ayala demontrates educational tools on an iPad to preservice teacher candidates at Sonoma State University

Partner teams must REGISTER by SEPTEMBER 25, 2012

Only the first 12 qualifying teams will be selected to participate. All team members will receive digital prizes for participating.

Registration and challenge guidelines can be found online at:


Submissions are due by Monday, November 26, 2012. Winners will be announced Friday, December 7, 2012. For more information contact Dr. Sandy Ayala, 707-664-2972 or