College of Education Newsletter

June 2020

Message from the Dean:

Like many of you, I feel like the world has changed in the last few months. With the onset of COVID-19 and the move to working and teaching remotely in addition to the civil unrest, I feel a need to work smarter, invest in innovation, do better, and listen more. As a college, we are going to embark on a campaign of cultural humility led by Dr. Candice Barnes to compliment our work with the Disruptive Educational Equity Project (DEEP).

"The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines cultural humility as “a lifelong process of self-reflection and self-critique whereby the individual not only learns about another’s culture, but one starts with an examination of her/his own beliefs and cultural identities.” The concept carries meaning for any educator or social advocate who is studying and/or working with someone different from themselves – in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual preference, socioeconomic status, or geographic location – in any cultural context and in any part of the world." (

As our world and our institutions are changing, I have challenged myself, and I now challenge you, to approach situations with kindness and humility. We can and will get through this if we open our hearts to others and work toward the greater good.


The COE Gives Thanks!

Dr. Donna Wake:

The College of Education would like to recognize the exceptional leadership of Dr. Donna Wake as the Associate Dean for the last six years. Donna has led the CAEP accreditation efforts, including our quality assurance program, curriculum review, and diversity efforts. Her innovation, attention to detail, and hard work have helped us grow as a College. The countless hours she has spent working behind the scene to make us all do good and look good are particularly admirable. She directly contributed to our status as an Apple Distinguished School and the 2019 AACTE Technology Innovation Award. She was also personally recognized last year by the University for her work with diversity and inclusion. We are fortunate that Donna has decided to maintain her work with assessment and will serve as the COE Director of Assessment. Our gratitude to her is beyond measure.

Dr. Nykela Jackson:

Dr. Nykela Jackson has worked for the past two years to create an integrated and cohesive field experience program for our teacher training programs. She has pulled together people to create college-wide systems for tracking students, sharing data, and ensuring the quality in our field and practicum. Nykela's patient and gentle nudging has allowed us to share best practices between programs and departments, ensuring that our candidates have positive experiences in their field placements. Her organization and planning skills have allowed us to strengthen our processes and procedures, adding continuity and consistency in field placement, supervision, and evaluation. Although she will be passing along the field administrative responsibilities, we can always rely on Nykela as a trusted friend and colleague as she continues her faculty work and the Teacher Cadet coordination for the College.

COE Announces New Appointments:

Dr. Michael Mills:

Dr. Michael Mills has been named the new associate dean for the College of Education. He previously served as chair for the Department of Teaching & Learning. Michael's strengths in leading initiatives such as the Apple 1-1 Mobile Initiative, his experience with budget, his understanding of the curriculum process, his design of field and field documentation, and his work ethic will position him to transition into this new role.

Dr. Candice Barnes:

Dr. Candice Barnes has been named Distinguished Education Equity Fellow for the College of Education. This position will focus on leadership within the College related to educational equity. Candice will lead our diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts as we further our outreach and research in educational equity. Her commitment to cultural humility and leading difficult conversations poise her to assist us as we lead in this area.

Dr. Debbie Dailey:

Dr. Debbie Dailey has been named as Interim Chair for the Department of Teaching & Learning. Debbie has strong support from the department and is looking forward to taking on this new position. Her insight and quiet sensibility will help us make important decisions in these unstable times.

COE News:

Arkansas Department of Education: Educator Preparation Program Quality Report

The College of Education (COE) recently received the ratings from the Arkansas Department of Education's (Division of Elementary and Secondary Education) Educator Preparation Program Quality Report. The COE is proud to announce we have exceeded standards on all four narratives: Shortage Areas, Minorities, Partnerships, and Reading.

The ratings were based on our responses to questions about the COE activities relate to 1) addressing teacher shortages in Arkansas included geographic shortages and content shortages such as special education and science teachers, 2) recruitment and support for underrepresented populations in the field of teaching, 3) our ability to make and involve key partners in decision making, and 4) the infusion of the science of reading pedagogy into our curriculum.

Thanks to all involved who made these ratings possible!

UCA DEEP Training:

On June 11th, UCA College of Education faculty continued racial equity training that started in January through the Disruptive Educational Equity Project (DEEP). Thirty-nine faculty participated in the three hour workshop.

For more information about DEEP please visit

Faculty News:

Dr. Stefanie Sorbet and Dr. Candice Barnes:

Congratulations to Dr. Stefanie Sorbet and Dr. Candice Barnes on the recent publication of their article, Using Positive Behavior Role Plays to Prepare Teacher Candidates for the Classroom: An Exercise for Classroom Management, in the Journal of Education and Culture Studies.

You can view the article by going to

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

Wes Alford:

Wes is a 2014 graduate of UCA's Ph.D. in Leadership Studies program. He worked as a Sr. Organizational Development Consultant at UAMS for 4 years before moving to Colorado State University in April of 2019.

Wes now works for CSU Extension as the Director of Professional Development where he is developing new onboarding and mentoring programs for new Extension employees along with other professional and leadership development programs for existing employees.

Sara Brown:

Sara is a 2017 graduate of UCA's Ph.D. in Leadership Studies program.

Sara shared, "After graduation, I changed jobs to work for the University of Arkansas System. Last year, I accepted a new role in the UA System as the Director of Institutional Advancement for the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts in Hot Springs. My role at ASMSA is a perfect combination of my skill set. My previous experience in higher education and non-profit work combined with the LEAD program focus areas prepared me to step into this position. At ASMSA, we are shaping the future and preparing the leaders of tomorrow by investing in the educational experiences cultivated at our school. In addition, I have remained active in many civic, community, and social organizations as a member and volunteer. I love giving back to the community that helped raise me!"

Chris Cagle:

Chris is a 2012 graduate of UCA's College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) program.

Chris shared, "I work at the University of Arkansas as the Student Services Specialist in the First-Year Engineering Program. In this role I am an instructor for students starting out behind in their math placement, instilling skills to help retain them, I am an academic advisor, and I oversee the Peer Mentor program. The Peer Mentor program reaches all of our incoming students and has me supervising 80+ student staff each academic year." He added, "During the summer our program hosts an International LEGO Robotics tournament for children, which is by far the most bizarre work thing I was thrown into and probably one of the most rewarding!"

Brian Glick:

Brian is a 2006 graduate of UCA"s College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) program.

He is currently the Associate Director for Student Conduct at Northern Illinois University. Brian is a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Student Conduct Administration. He earned his doctorate in 2016.

Brandyn Jordan:

Brandyn is a 2016 graduate of UCA's College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) program. He is currently an Academic Advisor at the University of Florida.

Lyle Rupert:

Lyle is a 2015 graduate of UCA"s Ph.D. in Leadership Studies program.

He is in his 33rd year teaching accounting, finance, and data analytics in the Economics and Business Department at Hendrix College. Lyle shared, "Two years ago, I was awarded the C. Louis and Charlotte Cabe Distinguished Professorship, an honor that overwhelmed me, but confirmed the success of my continued efforts to support my students, Hendrix College, and the liberal arts." He added, "Since my high school days, I've been active in church music and in serving non-profit organizations. Currently, I am the organist of Grace Presbyterian Church in Conway. I also serve on the board of the Conway Symphony Orchestra and will be president of the board for the next two years."

Lyle and his wife Sheila enjoy spending as much time as possible with their four grandsons. Two live in Conway, two live in Alabama, and all four are under the age of five. Lyle said, "They are a great joy in our lives!"

COE Newsletter Archives:

Missed an issue? You can view past issues of the COE Newsletter by going to