As a child, Assistant Professor John Burgin said he wanted to run away and join the circus when he grew up.
With the myriad of colors, sounds, and activities in an average elementary school classroom, he may feel as if heâ€™s there everyday. But the joy that Dr. Burgin receives from being in the classroom pales by comparison to the benefits he has brought to the 800 children enrolled in Literacy Camp in the past six years.
Literacy Camp is a unique public service project for UALR that Dr. Burgin calls a win-win-win situation. In the summer camp, students enrolled in high-poverty schools in the central Arkansas area are encouraged to improve their reading skills under the tutelage of current classroom teachers. Dr. Burgin tapes the Literacy Camp sessions and then shows those videos to college students enrolled in UALRâ€™s College of Education seeking their certifications.
â€śLiteracy Camp serves children both directly and indirectly,â€ť Dr. Burgin said. â€śThe teachers have the opportunity to experiment and take some risks that will pay off for them in their future classroom work. Plus, a great number of kids make tremendous progress in a short period of time.â€ť
This year, Literacy Camp will partner with Children International, the Arkansas Arts Council, and the Arkansas Humanities Council to provide even more opportunity for participating students.
In addition to his work with Literacy Camp, Dr. Burgin serves on the College of Educationâ€™s Assessment Committee and has served on the UALR Provostâ€™s Assessment Advisory Group since 2003. He is a counselor and advisor for UALRâ€™s Kappa Delta Pi education honor society, encouraging the next generation of educators by helping them develop a strong community on and off campus.
Dr. Burgin earned a bachelorâ€™s degree in experimental psychology from Hendrix College and a masterâ€™s degree in educational psychology and educational specialist degree in reading from Indiana University. He earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Dr. Burgin is a certified assessor for the Praxis III examination and a reading and early childhood education specialist.