Faculty members Jason Helfer and Stephen Schroth found a strong Educational Studies program when they arrived at Knox in 2006 -- and then they dug in and went right to work to make it even better.
Students now benefit from partnerships with a Navajo school in High Rock, Arizona, and with Anhui University in Wuhu, China. With Knox's strong commitment to community service and its rich history with the Peace Corps, Helfer and Schroth also have developed new courses -- Reading and Writing Across the Content Areas and Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages -- that appeal not only to those studying to become teachers, but also to students looking towards social services or other careers in a globalized world.
"They have allowed our students to acquire skills that make them really attractive in the job market," says Schroth.
Taking the existing curriculum and infusing it with an eye towards the next century, Helfer and Schroth have worked with their colleague Diana Beck to reinvigorate the curriculum and point it toward the next century, providing foundations in the theory, practice, and philosophy of education.
The duo -- who had never met before coming to Knox -- share a love of classical and jazz music and also have found common research interests. They now have 25 co-authored articles in print or in press and now are pulling students into their research. Helfer and Schroth also have revitalized Knox's College4Kids program during their short time on campus.
They say Knox has as refined and far-reaching an Educational Studies department as any liberal arts college anywhere and that their success and determination has been fostered by support from administration and other faculty, as well as an engaged student body.
"It really is a place where everybody is pulling for everybody else," Helfer says.