Teaching Ambassador Fellowship
2010 Alumni Classroom Fellow
Ann Arbor, MI
Bio/Overview: Van Dusen currently teaches regular and Advanced Placement government and American History at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, MI. She decided to become a teacher after watching Peter Jenning’s compelling program A Nation at Risk, about the National Commission on Excellence in Education’s report. At the time, Van Dusen was pursuing a graduate degree in political science at the University of Michigan. Inspired to respond to the call for teachers with a deep interest and strong academic background in their subject areas, she went to talk to an advisor in the School of Education the next day. Since 1987, Van Dusen has taught American history, western civilizations, and government, all at general and accelerated levels at Pioneer High School. Van Dusen has taught on her own and as a member of an interdisciplinary humanities team.
Educational Values/Philosophy: Van Dusen is dedicated to preparing students for standardized tests (including the Advanced Placement U. S. Government test) and trying to reach students who struggle with academic, behavior, and motivation problems. She recognizes the challenges and opportunities that come with teaching students from diverse backgrounds, and invests herself in each individual student’s needs and motivations to help them overcome obstacles and reach their individual goals.
Achievements: In 2009, Van Dusen was selected by C-SPAN to work as one of three Summer Teaching Fellows to work with C-SPAN’s Education Team to develop and enhance its online resources for teachers. In 2010, she worked for C-SPAN as one of eleven national Ambassador Educators, conducting workshops and exhibits at regional social studies and technology education conferences. In 2011, Van Dusen was selected as a White House Champion of Change in the field of education. During the 2012-2013 school year, Van Dusen will continue to work with C-SPAN as a senior fellow.
Leadership Experience: Van Dusen designed curriculum units for the University of Michigan’s Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies on “The History of St. Petersburg in Architecture” and “Muslims in Europe,” which are available online and have been accessed by many teachers around the country. Since 2009, Van Dusen has brought local and state leaders to her school through sponsoring a student panel discussion with congressmen and inviting professors and instructors from local colleges to speak to students regarding various topics in American history. Van Dusen expanded this community by bringing national expert on money in politics Dave Levinthal and C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb to her classroom via Skype. As a Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellow, Van Dusen focused on communications and outreach initiatives and improving teacher evaluation systems. She had numerous and diverse opportunities, which included co-facilitating roundtable discussions about education policy with social studies teachers at the National Council for the Social Studies national convention and with fine arts teachers at a Creativity Summit in Ohio. A highlight of the fellowship experience for Van Dusen and her students was when Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach, Peter Cunningham spoke with her classes in Ann Arbor.
Affiliations: C-SPAN, Teacher Preparation Programs at Eastern Michigan and the University of Michigan; ASCD, National Council for Social Studies, PDK International
Education: Van Dusen earned a B.A. in political science from Miami University, Ohio, with honors and a Masters in history from Eastern Michigan University. She hopes to pursue a second Master’s or PhD in public policy and educational leadership.
Areas of Interest/Expertise:
- Data and Curriculum design
- Government and history teaching
- Technology integration
- Teacher evaluation