College of Education
As an accomplished scholar, Professor Lysandra Cook of the Department of Special Education in the College of Education strives to integrate her teaching and lines of scholarly inquiry. These lines of inquiry include evidence-based practices, teacher preparation, and co-teaching. A strong influence on Dr. Cook and an expression of her commitment to teaching and learning is Project Laulima, a federally funded grant on which she has served as Project Director since 2012. The project involves many elements that include: collaborative development of a detailed curriculum map, integrated assessment system and 19 new course syllabi infusing collaboration and co- teaching, universal design for learning (UDL) culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) and instructional technology. These courses form the new Exceptional Students and Elementary Education (ESEE) program recognized as one of the “25 best Special Education Degrees for 2017” in the nation by College Choice. All courses are co-taught with elementary and faculty of Special Education, all trained in co-teaching to provide effective models for their teacher-candidates tasked with collaborating and co-teaching after they graduate and become licensed teachers. True co-teaching means that together teachers are accomplishing exponentially more than multiple individual teachers are able to achieve while reducing the teacher-student ratio. These innovations generate student responses to Professor Cook’s influence and impact on her students, crediting her with “pushing me to be my best, at times believing in me more than I believed in myself,” and “She presented extremely powerful content in a very expert way,” and “She inspires deep reflection on pedagogy and effective practices for diverse learners.” Dr. Cook’s colleagues describe her as a respected colleague with outstanding teaching performance and leadership and an exceptional ability to collaborate with faculty, candidates and Hawai’i Department of Education personnel and faculty. The many elements of maintaining a positive teaching and learning environment initiated by Lysandra Cook in the present—innovative, engaged knowledge production animated by enthusiasm, reciprocity and inquisitiveness and grounded in respect, collaboration and trust—forms a foundation of her legacy for educational reform as it is honored and perpetuated by her future teacher candidates in the future.
Department of Special Education