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Toni Walters' past students create a scholarship in her honor

Dr. Toni Walters, professor in the School of Education and Human Services from 1989 to 2011, taught graduate students in the Reading and Language Arts department for 22 years. Her teaching effectiveness has been recognized by a number of awards, including OU's Teaching Excellence Award in 1997 and the Guardian Award by the National Black Child Development Institute in 2008.

When past students heard Dr. Walter was retiring, they wanted to do something for Dr. Walters that could be as impactful and memorable as Dr. Walters' was on them. Twenty-six OU alumni, faculty and staff came together on August 6, 2011 to recognize Walters' achievements and contributions to OU, the field of literacy and her career. At this dinner, former students raised $2,000 to create a scholarship in honor of Dr. Walters.

Full Story . . .

Dr. Toni S. Walters with her late husband Kenneth Walters.

Student organization wins grants to further literacy

Oakland University's Student Michigan Education Association (SMEA) chapter received grants from the National Education Association and the Michigan Education Association to rejuvenate a Family Medicine Center and add a Reach Out and Read program at the clinic.

SMEA received $1,000 from a Community Learning through America's Schools (CLASS) grant from the National Education Association. The Michigan Education Association matched this grant, providing a total of $2,000 for Oakland University pre-service teachers to paint murals of characters from children's literature, purchase comfortable chairs and tables for the children's corners of the FMC waiting room, and books to stock the Family Medicine Center's shelves.

SMEA volunteers cleaned and painted the walls, built shelving, and added books on March 31, 2012. On April 21, SMEA will hold a community open house to showcase the renovated center, featuring read alouds, crafts and activities for children in and around the community.  If you would like to attend, please contact

If you are interested in donating gently used books to the Family Medicine Center for children in grades one through six or supporting SMEA's efforts in adopting the Family Medicine Center, please email

Full Story . . .

SMEA officers at the Fall 2011 Student Welcome Reception

The Family Medical Center where OU SMEA will renovate the Reach Out and Read area.

OUCARES Sibling Fund

For the last couple of years, Skyler Knapp and his older brother, Corbin, have been attending Film Camp at OUCARES, the Oakland University Center for Autism Research, Education and Support. Although Corbin is on the autism spectrum, Skyler is not – but he comes to camp because he enjoys sharing the experience with his brother.

Skyler's love for his big brother and his experiences with OUCARES inspired him to do something big. So, Skyler and his good friend Cullin Irvine, decided to start their own foundation.

Cullin and Skyler co-founded the Look Up Foundation to support OUCARES and raised funds selling stretch bracelets at their middle school and collecting other donations. The two boys raised $403, which they presented to OUCARES in December 2011. 

Full Story . . .

OUCARES Director Kathy Sweeney, Skyler Knapp, Cullin Irvine, Corbin Knapp and Kevin Knapp.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation comes to Pontiac, Michigan

In time for the holidays, the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation worked with OUCARES to deliver gifts and pizza to families affected by autism in the Pontiac, Michigan community. 

The Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation (ASDF) has a history of supporting OUCARES, providing scholarships for children to attend the unique summer Film Camp since 2009. To date, the ASDF has donated over $34,300 to OUCARES, directly benefiting children and young adults diagnosed with autism. Gifts from the ASDF have provided scholarships to the OUCARES Film Camp, Social Skills program, Pee Wee program and the plethora of recreational programs held during the academic year. 

This year, OUCARES will continue to offer scholarships for participants in the summer camps. Please contact OUCARES directly via their website or email for more information on their summer programs and scholarships.

SEHS Advisers receive top honors

The Academic Advisers for the School of Education and Human Services guide and support teachers, future educators and human service professionals as they identify, pursue and achieve goals that prepare them to become collaborative leaders in local and world communities.  SEHS advisers, amidst advising a population of over 3,000 individuals, continue to be recognized for the highest honors in their field and at Oakland University.

The "newest" SEHS adviser Laurie Shano is a winner of the National Academic Advising Association's 2011 Outstanding New Adviser Certificate of Merit. Shano works at OU's Macomb campus, advising over 10 SEHS undergraduate and graduate programs.

SEHS adviser Lorin Wright recently received the 2012 OU Outstanding Professional Academic Adviser Award. Donna Malaski won the 2011 Michigan Academic Advising Association's Outstanding Academic Advising Award - Primary Role, and Jennifer Bellini received the National Academic Advising Association's Outstanding Advising Certificate of Merit in the Primary Advising category.

Director of Teacher Advising Nichole Moninger says of her team, "No other academic unit on campus has as many award winners on their advising staff as SEHS does! We are so fortunate to have such a gifted team of advisers."


SEHS Adviser Laurie Shano

SEHS Adviser Lorin Wright

Professors in the SEHS published

Dr. James Hansen, professor in the Department of Counseling, co-authored Humanistic Perspectives on Contemporary Counseling Issues, which received the Joe and Lucille Hollis Publications Award from the Association for Humanistic Counseling. This book explores and presents current counseling issues from a humanistic perspective, providing a valuable resource for counselors and therapists seeking effective approaches, founded on humanistic principles, to use in their practice.


Dr. James Hansen

Dr. Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon, associate professor in the Department of Reading and Language Arts, co-authored Change is Gonna Come, which was just given the Edward B. Fry Book Award by the Literacy Research Association. After decades of research on the achievement gap between African American students and their counterparts, the enigma remains. In Change Is Gonna Come, the authors address this issue explicitly by discussing the source of the problems and specifically how many of the problems can be solved.

Dr. Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon

Dr. Linda Pavonetti, associate professor in the Department of Reading and Language Arts, edited Bridges to Understanding: Envisioning the World Through Children's Books. This book, available in print and digitally, provides stories from around the world that will help children understand differences among countries and cultures while simultaneously showing humanity's similarities.


Dr. Linda Pavonetti

Golden Grizzlies connect, learn at OU Winter College in Florida

Several Golden Grizzlies spent a warm, fun-filled weekend at the Oakland University Winter College in Bonita Springs, Florida this February. The second year of this growing event brought together alumni from various class years as well as many "snowbirds" in the Bonita Springs and Naples area. 

Guests enjoyed the beautiful amenities of the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa with part of the weekend earmarked for leisure time.

Oakland plans to host the weekend again next year according to Eric Barritt, vice president for Community Engagement. "We were thrilled to see so many alumni and friends take advantage of a destination event like this; to connect with each other and with Oakland; and to learn from our faculty. I think the event will only continue to grow."

For more information or to view a slideshow of photos from the winter college, view the website at


Allen and Barbara Gough, Human Resource Development alumna, pictured right, attended the medical lecture at OU's 2012 Winter College

Upcoming Events

Grizzly Gala on Friday, April 20 at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan from 6 - 10 p.m. to benefit the OUAA scholarship program.

Autism Quality of Life Symposium on May 7-8, 2012 at the Marriott Auburn Hills in Pontiac.

  • Who should attend? Parents, caregivers, professionals, employers, educators and adults living with autism
  • What is this year's focus? Residential living and employment
  • How do I sign up? Visit for details and to register.
Enroll now in summer camps at Lowry, OUCARES, Reading and Writing Clinics.


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    Spring 2012


    Upcoming Events 

    Autism Quality of Life Symposium on May 7-8

    Grizzly Gala on April 20

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