Professor of educational foundations and research Kathleen Gershman will be the featured speaker for the University of North Dakota summer commencement on Friday, Aug. 3, at 3 p.m., in the Chester Fritz Auditorium.
UND President Robert Kelley will preside over his fifth summer commencement ceremony. Approximately 500 students are eligible to graduate. UND each year graduates more than 2,700 students in ceremonies in May, August and December.
Gershman, who has been a member of UND's faculty since 1984, also serves as chair of the Department of Educational Foundations and Research and graduate director in the College of Education and Human Development. She has received numerous honors and awards for teaching, research and service. Her work on educational research has been published in prestigious journals and she has presented at many national and international conferences.
The summer commencement ceremony will be broadcast live on Grand Forks Cable Channel 3 and rebroadcast on the same channel Aug. 7-10 at 12:30 a.m., noon and 8 p.m.
Gershman is professor of educational foundations and research, chair of the Department of Educational Foundations and Research, and graduate director in the College of Education and Human Development. She received her B.A. in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts and her master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.
Before her appointment to the UND faculty in 1984, Gershman was a bilingual (Spanish) teacher in the Boston public schools system. She has taught undergraduate courses in Curriculum Development in Secondary Schools and Philosophy and the Teacher; and graduate courses in Foundations of Educational Thought and Qualitative Research Methods.
Gershman was honored with the Burlington Northern Foundation Individual Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, Creativity and Service, in 1990. She was chosen one of the faculty "Stars" voted on by UND Presidential Scholars in 2006 and received the North Dakota Spirit Faculty Achievement Award in 2012 in recognition of significant contributions in teaching, research and service. Her department received the McDermott Award for Departmental Excellence in Teaching three times during her tenure here: in 1994, 1995 and 2012.
Gershman has chaired the dissertation committees of 33 graduated Ph.D. students. She is proud that eight of these dissertations have been recognized for either Outstanding Scholarship on Teacher Education, Phi Delta Kappa's Doctoral Dissertation Award, or the UND Graduate School Distinguished Dissertation Award.
Gershman's research interests include the educational and cosmological theories of Alfred North Whitehead, process philosophy of education, and learning environments. She has published articles in Educational Theory, QSE: The International Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, JCT: The Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, and Process Studies. Her books include They Always Test Us on Things We Haven't Read: Teen Laments and Lessons Learned, (Hamilton Books); and, with Donald Oliver, Education, Modernity and Fractured Meaning: Toward a Process Theory of Teaching and Learning, (SUNY Press). Her current research interest is in very small rural schools, and the pedagogy of place. She has presented at many national and international conferences and just last month reunited with four of her graduated doctoral students on a panel they convened, "Art Meets Science: Contributions of Qualitative Research to the Medical Profession," at the International Congress for Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Gershman is a past board director and president of the Grand Forks Foundation for Education, the Prairie Public Broadcasting Board of Directors, and chairs the popular Empire Arts Center Fundraiser known as The Great Dinners. She was a member of the Presidents' Advisory Committee on the Arts from 1998 to 2000 (appointed by President Clinton), and has been a member of National Committee for the Performing Arts since 1992.
Gershman met her husband Hal (longtime Grand Forks businessman and councilman) when they both served in the Peace Corps in Bolivia doing public health work on tuberculosis. They co-chaired the fundraising effort for the renovation of the Empire Arts Center, and together received the Peace Corps Award in 2009 for Community Service. They have one daughter, Leonora, who lives with her husband, Scott, in Los Angeles with their daughter, Willa Kathleen, 2.