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CIRCE—A Student View

 
 
CIRCE—The Center for Instructional Research and Curriculum Evaluation—is first and foremost a network of personal associations.  The bonds of these associations are professional ones, to be sure, stemming from interest and competency in social science; the humanities, instructional research and program evaluation; but they are personal bonds nonetheless.  They extend through the University campus, the state and the nation, and cut across many levels and areas of expertise. 
 

In the College of Education, graduate students interact with professors, department heads, and the Dean.  All of these people and colleagues from other specialized agencies (Office of Instructional Research, Council on Program Evaluation) and disciplines (psychology, sociology, history, geography, philosophy, computer science, economics) attend CIRCE gatherings and sack lunches, seminars where faculty members and graduate students have the opportunity to present ideas and obtain feedback through informal discussions.  The graduate students themselves meet in various ways to exchange ideas and to lend support.  This "web of associations" is perhaps the most unique value of CIRCE and one that is of great importance to beginning graduate students looking for areas in which (and people "with which") to specialize.  Here's what previous CIRCE graduate students said: 
 

There are opportunities for learning everywhere.  You can learn as much by hanging around CIRCE as you do in classes.  The informal conversations are important. 
 

 

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Students shouldn't expect guidelines or structure. Part  of  your learning  is adjusting to the lack of structure or making your own.
 

 

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In CIRCE students are free to talk with professors and they will be responsive. Students shouldn't be afraid to approach them.  There will be opportunities from time to time to become involved with the specialized interests or projects of individual faculty members. 

     
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Students work on projects such as Environmental Education, the NSF Case Studies and the ISU Arts in Education Workshops Evaluation.  Sometimes students are assigned to these projects and at other times they might have to use their initiative to discover opportunities and to become involved. 
 

 

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The steady stream of visitors, many from other countries, affords a grad student opportunities to learn about education and evaluation activities in differing societal contexts, from different perspectives.  This leads to an increased depth of  understanding not often available.

 

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Graduate students have a variety of projects they can work on, but they must also be prepared to do some footwork.  Responsibilities vary from doing and writing evaluations and other types of theoretical work, such as working on a new approach to measuring knowledge ability, to setting up evaluation conferences, rearranging the CIRCE library, and filing. 

 

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CIRCE encourages the growth of individual interests. 

 

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It's a nice place to be.

 

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The essence of CIRCE is defined by the faculty members who have had offices in the CIRCE area: Robert Stake, Del Hamisch, Jack Easley, Lizanne DeStefano, and Klaus Witz.  Long-time friends and working associates Terry Denny, Jacquie Hill, Nick Burbules and Liora Bresler join them as the theoreticians and practitioners that make CIRCE go, along with the many long-term visitors and graduate students.  These people have played leading roles in assisting national curricular projects and professional associations, as well as helping federal and state agencies design evaluation plans and activities. 
 

In summary, the opportunities for developing broad social and educational perspectives, specific research and evaluation skills, and close-- but at the same dm broad -ranging-- professional associations can all be found at the Center for Instructional Research and Curriculum Evaluation. 
 
 


 
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