College of Education students begin student chapter of national association dedicated to excellence in teaching
With the help of Clemson faculty, a group of Clemson students in the College of Education have started a student chapter of ASCD, formerly known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The association is dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
Breana Thomas, president of the student chapter and an early childhood education major, became involved in the association because she saw its potential as a resource for all College of Education students. She said the professional development tools that it will provide students will help them prepare for careers as teachers in a practical way.
“Aside from the primary goal of the ASCD, we see our student chapter helping students prepare for their Praxis exams, so we plan to host several Praxis study groups throughout each semester,” Thomas says. “In the long term, I think we could also factor in different disciplines and majors who are passionate about education.”
Thomas said she experienced a “rough” sophomore year. She credits Dr. Natalie Pough, lecturer in Clemson’s teaching and learning department, as a saving grace. Pough acted as a mentor for Thomas during this tough time in her life. Thomas expressed to Pough her desire to begin a student organization that could act as an additional student support hub run by students, so Pough introduced her to the idea of an ASCD student chapter.
Pough has an existing relationship with the ASCD and now serves as faculty advisor for the student chapter. In 2018, the association recognized her as an emerging leader; in this role she is helping shape education policy and explore multiple association leadership pathways. One of her goals upon earning this recognition was to start a student chapter of ASCD. She envisioned an inclusive space for all students majoring in education to come together to explore ways to better serve the college, university and community.
“Our students are really excited about expanding their network, working together and working alongside South Carolina ASCD and ASCD at large,” Pough says. “New experiences outside of their traditional course of study will only help them become better teachers and teacher leaders.”
Hartley Craven is an early childhood education major and vice president of Clemson’s ASCD. She first learned about the organization from Thomas, and said she became involved as a way to become a more informed, effective child advocate and to develop her own leadership skills.
Craven said she has been encouraged by the chapter’s first round of student leadership and the diversity it represents because inclusivity is a priority for the association. She hopes that it will continue to be an organization open to all education majors across all areas of study.
“I believe that the more you put into something, the more you get back, and I feel that the rest of the chapter’s leadership feels the same way,” Craven said. “I feel that we are setting a great initial tone for this group as a supportive place for all and I look forward to growing its membership during the rest of my time at Clemson.”
The founding board for the Clemson University ASCD is as follows:
- Breana Thomas, President
- Hartley Craven, Vice President
- Deborah Jamison, Secretary
- Jered Channing McConnell, Treasurer
- Alanna Brown
- Grace McClain
- Caroline Mulligan
- Avery Nelson
- Alphonso Richard Jr.
- Natalie Pough, Faculty Advisor
The ASCD is dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Comprising 114,000 members—superintendents, principals, teachers, and advocates from more than 127 countries—the ASCD community also includes 57 affiliate organizations. ASCD’s innovative solutions promote the success of each child. To learn more about how ASCD supports educators as they learn, teach, and lead, visit www.ascd.org.