College of Education Newsletter

August 2020

Message from the Dean:

It might be an unusual beginning of the academic year, but it still comes with excitement and enthusiasm. Our students have been the model of professional behavior, wearing their face coverings and socially distancing. They are engaged, ready to learn, and hopeful. Our undergraduate interns are quietly working to reach all of the children in their classrooms with a renewed focus on ensuring that every child has an advocate. Our graduate students are engaging in classes, internships in various disciplines, and conducting research that adds value to their field of study. All of this is led by the COE faculty, dedicated to educational equity and exceptional practice.

This beginning might see us stumble more than others as we learn more, change our teaching methods, and embrace the unexpected. I challenge you to see the growth that productive struggle brings. As Anne Sullivan said: “Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose — not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.”

Dean Vicki Groves-Scott

COE Professional Development Summer Sessions:

The College of Education presented six unique professional development sessions virtually this summer. The sessions were offered free of charge and were aimed towards educators. While many educators that attended were from Arkansas, the sessions also saw participants from several other states and countries. Altogether, there were over 980 participants.

Sessions presented were:

Shaping an Equity Vision: Reflection of Outcomes & Process by Dr. Stacey Loyless and Dr. Shelly Albritton. The session examined the necessity of analyzing and being reflective about Process – what we do as adults. The triangulation of Vision-Process-Outcome is paramount in leading schools toward authentic equity.

Trends and Issues in Special Education by Ms. Dee Dee Cain and Ms. Kristen Doran. Session participants learned about three current trends and issues in special education: High Leverage Practices in special education, Data Driven Assessment & Instruction, and The Science of Reading & the special educator.

Utilizing Technology Tools for Investigation in Virtual and Face-to-Face Learning by Dr. Debbie Dailey, Dr. Jason Trumble, and Ms. Michelle Buchanan. This session presented multiple tools that can be used to engage students and guide them through a problem-based learning experience in a virtual or face-to-face environment. Participants explored ways to use problem based learning in their own curriculum.

Building an Online Space for K-12 Learners by Dr. Erin Shaw and Ms. Ashley Cooksey. This session focused on best practices for building instructor presence and creating a space for student interaction in online classrooms. Building an online space for K-12 learners requires the addition of spaces for students to interact with their instructor, as well as fellow classmates.

Creative COVID Classrooms: Literacy Learning in a New Hybrid Environment by Dr. Amy Thompson, Dr. Susan Perry, and Ms. Sheri Hight. This session was for teachers of all grades who want to learn more about how to engage with and conduct literacy instruction in small groups online. Participants will build their literacy toolbox and leave with evidence-based strategies and technologies to address this important need.

Cultivating Opportunities for Equity in the Digital Age by Dr. Michael Mills, Dr. Donna Wake, and Ms. Jessica Herring Watson. Participants learned about and discussed the inequity present in our schools based on race and income level, with a specific focus on how digital learning has bridged opportunity gaps in one sense and deepened them in others.

PD sessions were market by UCA Outreach. If you would like more information about the PD sessions provided...along with being able to watch the sessions...please visit

Faculty News:

Dr. Deanna Kay Rice:

Dr. Deanna Kay Rice, Assistant Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education, received confirmation that her article was published in the June edition of Educational Research Quarterly.

The title of Deanna's article is, The Effects of Peer Coaching and Video Training on Targeted Teaching Behaviors in an Early Field Experience.

Dr. Stefanie Sorbet:

Dr. Stefanie Sorbet, Assistant Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education, recently had an article published in the Technium Social Sciences Journal. The article is titled Withitness in the eLearning. You can view the article by going to

Welcome New Faculty:

Ms. Catherine Miller:

The COE would like to welcome Ms. Catherine Miller as a Visiting Clinical Instructor in the Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education.

Catherine is a native of EL Dorado, Arkansas. During her high school years, she worked for Miss Janna’s House developing educational activities during the summer for pre-school to school-aged children. After graduating from EL Dorado High School, Catherine attended the University of Central Arkansas where she was an active student leader serving on the executive board of several organizations such as the Minority Mentorship Program, REAL BEAUTY, and Students for the Propagation of Black Culture. In the Fall of 2015, Catherine graduated from UCA with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Teaching and Learning in Middle Level Education with an emphasis in mathematics and science and a minor in Business Management.

In the Fall of 2016, Catherine began her career as an educator with the Little Rock School District where she served as a Mathematics teacher at Dunbar Magnet Middle School. As a respected teacher and colleague, Catherine was honored as a Teacher of the Year at the district level in her first year of teaching. She is known for her ability to build relationships with learners, parents, and the community. Each semester, her math students created a service project that served the families at their school as well as the surrounding community. It was also during her first year of teaching that she began the coursework for her Master’s Degree in Advanced Studies in Teacher Leadership with a focus on Gifted Education which she completed in the Fall of 2017. In Catherine’s third year of teaching, she was selected to serve as a part of the pilot program for the Lead Professional Educator Licensure Endorsement which she completed in the Spring of 2018. Catherine completed her tenure with the Little Rock School District at the West Little Rock High School of Innovation as the Algebra I teacher and a Co-Advisor of Student Council and the Immerse Ministries Service Learning Project.

Where Are They Now:

The COE Newsletter encourages you to share UCA COE alumni stories. "Where Are They Now" articles will highlight our alumni and their impact. Please share your story by going to

Alexi Dather:

Alexi is a December 2015 graduate from the Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education.

After graduating from UCA in December of 2015, Alexi continued to serve as director over The City of Hope Outreach's after school program and summer reading program until June of 2016. A month later, she moved to Pyeongtaek, South Korea where she taught 2nd grade at a small international school for three years. While teaching in Korea, Alexi had the privilege of teaching students from all over the world. She also coached a high school girls basketball and volleyball team. They won first in their division in volleyball he second and third year. By January of 2019, Alexi decided she wanted to teach full time in the U.S., so she began applying for jobs around Central Arkansas. Later that spring, Alexi accepted a job offer to teach at Eastside Elementary in Greenbrier, where she has been teaching 2nd grade since August.

Alexi says, "I am proud to be a Panther, and am so excited about my school recently being recognized as a Model PLC. We are now on the map as the fifth school in Arkansas to receive this recognition! We are constantly collaborating, analyzing data, and trying out new engagement strategies in our classrooms to help students reach their goals."

Amy Hubbard:

Amy is a 1992 graduate of the special education program.

Amy has been with Conway Public Schools since 2001 as a Special Education Teacher. She currently teaches at Theodore Jones Elementary School. Prior to this, she taught at United Cerebral Palsy and Easter Seals Arkansas. Amy went back to UCA and graduated with an MSE in Reading in 2007. Amy says, "I enjoy giving back to the COE by serving as a mentor teacher. I enjoy sharing the passion for teaching special education with interns. When I'm not in the classroom, I coach the Conway Special Athletes, the school district Special Olympics team."

Jonathan Livermore:

Jonathan is a 2017 graduate of the Instructional Technology (ITEC) program and is currently teaching 4th grade math and science in the Russellville School District.

Christian Robinson:

Christian is a 2018 graduate of the College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) program.

He currently works at the University of Kansas as a Complex Director overseeing an all first year community while supervising two graduate students. He also teaches a sports themed section of UNIV 101, and is the chair of graduate recruitment for KU Student Housing.

Newsletter Archives:

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