Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations awards Dr. Rebecca Goosen with highest honor

08.20.2014 | By Jeannie Peng-Armao

Dr. Rebecca Goosen, known as a champion in developmental education, has been selected as a Fellow of the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations (CLADEA).

Selection as a Fellow is considered the highest honor conferred upon professionals in learning assistance, tutoring, and developmental education. Individuals must be nominated by a current Fellow or by a member association.

It is through her work as associate vice chancellor of college preparatory at San Jacinto College that Dr. Goosen now joins the likes of Dr. Hunter Boylan, Robert McCabe, Dr. Janet Zadina, the late Dr. Frank Christ, Jane A. Neuburger, and the many other scholars who have made their mark with long-term and significant contributions to the field.

"It is such an honor to be among these are scholars who have dedicated their whole life to improving the educational experience of the students we aim to help," said Dr. Goosen. "What ties us all together is the fact that we are trying to improve students' educational experiences."

Neuburger, who is the director of tutoring and study center at Syracuse University and 2006 CLADEA Fellow, nominated Dr. Goosen and added how her passion for developmental education stems from her own experience.

"Dr. Goosen often says she was a developmental student herself. Her voice has been exceptionally valuable recently in the discussions on developmental education across the nation," said Neuburger.

Dr. Goosen began her mission helping students in developmental education after her experience as a volunteer coordinator at her children's school. She quickly immersed herself in the K-12 system, progressing to serve as a school board member and then a substitute teacher at a middle school. A major turning point came after she began teaching at Ferris State University in 1996 and was sent to the Kellogg Institute at Appalachian State University.

"It was there that I discovered that there was a theoretical framework for what I was doing in the classroom, things like my approach to instruction and how to relate to students to enable them to progress in their education," said Dr. Goosen.

Even though she had already earned a bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising from Central Michigan University and a master's degree in textile science from Kansas State University, Dr. Goosen went back to the drawing board to attain higher education in her newfound passion for developmental education research. She received an Ed.S. in developmental education in 2001 from Appalachian State and an Ed.D. in educational leadership in 2008 from Grambling State University. In 2000, Dr. Goosen joined San Jacinto College to begin her mission toward creating new approaches to help the College's high percentage of developmental education students.

Throughout her promotions from associate dean to dean to associate vice chancellor, she has become known for her many approaches to college preparatory education, finding out which approaches work best for the students of San Jacinto College, rather than through a one size fits all approach.

"People ask us how we do this," said Dr. Goosen. "You have to have ownership, not just pick up what works somewhere else. Figure out how a model works for your institution."

Over the years, her team has developed college preparatory programs like Intentional Connections, a program to provide guidance and mentoring to lower level developmental students who struggle with core subjects; Acceleration in Math (AIM), a program that gives students a five-day college math course that includes two professors, extended office hours, lecture videos, and collaborative-based learning; and GUST courses, guided study courses to introduce students to college and healthy study habits.

Other college preparatory initiatives include the open entrance and open exit approach, designed for students who need a review and are self motivated to come into a course and begin at the level they last left off; and the fast track initiative, allowing students to complete two college preparatory math classes in eight weeks or in 16 weeks. This particular method shows a success rate 20 percent higher than some of the traditional delivery methods. The emporium model is another college preparatory math initiative that gives students the option to complete three levels of math courses in one semester.

In recognition of her ideas for such college preparatory programs and initiatives, Dr. Goosen was elected to serve as president-elect, president, and immediate past president of the National Association for Development Education (NADE), and has been invited to discuss issues related to the field with members of the National Governors Association, Jobs for the Future, MDRC, the National Center for Postsecondary Research and the Community College Research Center, Completion By Design, Achieving the Dream, The American Association of Community Colleges, and others.

In addition, Dr. Goosen has been an invited participant in the William Clinton Foundation/Greater Houston Blue Print Convening Event on education in the greater Houston area. She is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum and a member of The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Advisory Committee for Developmental Education. Her many awards include selection as the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award Recipient for 2003 and 2012. Most recently, she was honored with the College Academic Support Programs Lifetime Achievement Award.

"The success of students in developmental education has become a national conversation, and Dr. Goosen is one of the influential voices in that conversation," said Dr. Laurel Williamson, deputy chancellor and president of San Jacinto College.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 credit students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career and workforce preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook.