On this week’s episode of the Getting Smart Podcast Tom is talking with a father/daughter duo, Mark and Alex Milliron, co-authors of the new book The Sugar Chair Stories, a unique book that is divided into three sections with different target age groups and different life lessons. Dr. Mark Milliron serves as Senior Vice President and Executive Dean of the Teachers College at Western Governors University (WGU). In addition to his work with WGU, Mark helps catalyze positive change in education through his Catalytic Conversations blog and podcast series, and also through service on the boards and advisory councils of leading-edge education organizations,
Alex Milliron is a rising senior in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. During her time at Dripping Springs High School (TX), she was an honor student, a three-year varsity basketball player and high jumper, and regular community volunteer.
In this episode they discuss the origins of the “sugar chair”, an alternative to time out that comes from a longtime educator Becky Hodges; the slogan for the book: “slow down, look around, and figure out how to sweetening things up”; and Mark’s experience at the WGU school of Education: “We need next generations teachers and leaders to experience next-generation teaching and leading.”
[:10] About today’s episode with Mark and Alex Milliron.
[1:01] Tom welcomes Mark and Alex Milliron to the podcast.
[1:10] Mark shares his thoughts and perspective on the current state of American higher education amid a global pandemic.
[3:01] With four children, has Mark had a lot of family time during the pandemic? What have they spent their time doing?
[4:04] The genesis of Mark and Alex’s book, The Sugar Chair Stories.
[4:35] About Mark’s history with WGU and his return to WGU as the Senior Vice President and Executive Dean.
[5:10] Is WGU the biggest school of education in America?
[6:01] How Mark thinks about the value proposition for learners in the school of education?
[6:41] Has Mark seen as big of a jump in the enrollment at the school of education during the pandemic as other parts of the college?
[7:48] To what extent has the school of education embraced the idea of competency and focusing on important skills?
[9:59] Having grown up with one of America’s great educators, what motivated Alex to pursue education as well?
[10:46] What are Alex’s plans post-grad? What would she like to teach?
[11:53] What is a ‘sugar chair’ (from their book, The Sugar Chair Stories)?
[13:00] The meaning behind The Sugar Chair Stories’ slogan: “Slow down, look around, and figure out how to sweeten things up.”
[13:57] How did Alex and Mark come up with the concept of each story being for a different age group?
[16:01] Why The Sugar Chair Stories is multi-generational and perfect for the whole family.
[17:01] Alex shares how they collaborated on their book together.
[17:33] Did Alex bring any of her athletic experience to writing the book?
[18:27] Mark shares what he learned about his daughter Alex in the process of writing the book together.
[19:15] Alex and Mark share their thoughts and reflections on the editing process of the book.
[20:29] Did it feel like it took forever for the book to come out?
[21:12] What Alex learned writing a book.
[22:15] Be sure to check out The Sugar Chair Stories, by Mark Milliron and Alexandra Milliron!
[23:07] Are they planning on launching a virtual book tour?
[24:05] Tom thanks Mark and Alex for joining the podcast.
Mentioned in This Episode:
- Western Governors University (WGU)
Teachers College at Western Governors University
- College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin
Catalytic Conversations Blog
- Catalytic Conversations Podcast
- Dripping Springs High School
- The Sugar Chair Stories, by Mark Milliron and Alexandra Milliron
- @MarkMilliron on Twitter