College of Education Newsletter

July 2020

Message from the Dean:

Being Present says "being present" "means that we are aware and mindful of what is happening at this very moment. We are not distracted by ruminations on the past or worries about the future, but centered in the here and now". When we are fully present, we offer our whole selves to whatever it is that we are doing. Our attention, our energy, our consciousness are all focused in the moment and/or on the person(s) around us. DailyOM describes this as a powerful experience that sparks our ability to feel completely alive and invigorated.

In the daily rush of life it's often easy to be distracted by everything around us, but this hectic life can have a detrimental effect on our mental and physical health. Psychology Today states that "Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem and are more accepting of their own weaknesses." The more we allow ourselves to live in the present moment, the more we honor the gift of our lives. Life unfolds in the present; let's be there.

As this school year begins, it's my goal to be more present.... especially if meeting by ZOOM.

Take care,


"Thankful for You and for UCA":

Dean Victoria Groves-Scott recently received an email from a former student/COE graduate that we would like to share.

Hello Dean Groves-Scott,

I hope you and your family are doing well.

I wanted to give you an update on how my first two years of teaching have gone. I am about to enter into my third year of teaching 8th grade science and one 5th grade religion class in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I have already taught two students with deceased parents, which has made the research project we worked on together meaningful and impactful.

I have enjoyed every moment of my teaching career thus far, and that fact can be attributed to how prepared UCA's COE made me for teaching. I have had great classroom management, incorporated technology effectively, and instilled a passion in my students for science and learning. I was well-prepared for digital learning from my time at UCA and effectively taught amidst being in an atypical learning setting. It seems like just yesterday I had never taught in a formal classroom, and now I am thriving, and, most importantly, my students are thriving.

I am thankful for all that you and the College of Education have done for me! I would love to hear how things are going for you.

Best regards,

Laurie Nick


Dr. Susan Barclay:

On July 15th, Dr. Susan Barclay provided two live training presentations to international audiences. In the morning, Susan presented on the topic of transitioning triumphantly through career transitions using the Schlossberg’s Transition Theory as a framework for both assessment and intervention. The presentation was invited and sponsored by both the Asia Career Development Association and Work Singapore and was attended by 51 career practitioners from Singapore and Australia.

In the afternoon, Susan presented to 300 individuals from around the world on the topic of career construction and life design counseling. The training was part of the National Career Development Association’s (NCDA) Global Conference and was one of four invited live Presidential Choice presentations out of 88 presentations, of which 84 were prerecorded.

These presentations have led to an invitation by the Asia Pacific Career Development Association to present to an Asian audience in December. Susan is an Associate Professor for the College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) program in the department of Leadership Studies.

Ms. Rachel Shankles:

Congratulations to Ms. Rachel Shankles on receiving the ARKansas Violet Award from Alpha Delta Kappa. Rachel is the Practicum Coordinator for the Library Media and Information Technologies (LIBM) program at UCA.

Alpha Delta Kappa (ADK) is an International organization for outstanding women educators. The ARKansas Violet Award is given every two years from nominations sent in from across the chapters. The State President selects the winner based on excellence in education, promoting membership and personal service to the state organization. Rachel in an international World Understanding Committee chair this biennium, and they have built a professional school for a mission in Haiti that she has overseen. Rachel served as state Technology/Website/ Facebook Chair until May when she became AR State Corresponding Secretary. Rachel is presently South Central Technology chair and a past State President of AR ADK.

When asked about winning the award Rachel said, "I was thrilled to be selected for the Violet Award. I didn’t even know I’d been nominated. I always give back to my professional organizations in any way I can and it was rewarding to be recognized for it. I received a check for $100 and a certificate for the award. I’ve been an active member in ADK since 1982."

Drs. Erin Shaw, Amy Thompson, & Kevin Powell:

Drs. Erin Shaw, Amy Thompson, and Kevin Powell recently presented at the AAIM (Arkansas Association of Instructional Media) Conference. They presented virtually on "Virtual Book. Clubs: A Panel Discussion."

Erin is an Assistant Professor in the Leadership Studies department and serves as program coordinator of the Library Media and Information Technologies (LIBM) and Instructional Technology (ITEC) programs. Amy is an Assistant Professor in the Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education department and serves as program coordinator of the MSE Reading/Dyslexia Endorsement programs. Kevin is an Assistant Professor in the Leadership Studies department.

Dr. Amy Thompson

Dr. Amy Thompson was invited to present on July 8th at the Innovative Schools Virtual Summit. The theme of the conference was "Back to School Post Pandemic: Reengaging Students in Classroom Learning and Addressing Behavior." Amy presented on Supporting Students with Dyslexia Through Technology. The conference was put on by Accutrain Professional Development in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She previously recorded a webinar for Accutrain entitled "Dyslexia 101: Factions, Fiction, and Fundamentals."

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

Amy Chronis:

Amy is a 2015 graduate of the Early Childhood Education/Special Education program.

Amy shared, "I have had quite the adventure since graduation from UCA. I started by teaching at Marguerite Vann as the Resource teacher immediately after graduating. My husband is active duty Air Force, so during that year, we learned we would be moving to Tokyo, Japan. I came to Japan in August of 2016 and have been teaching since. I taught third grade and served as the Head of Elementary at Tokyo West International School from 2016-2017. In 2017 I took an offer to teach on Yokota Air Base (where we live) as the Learning Impaired, Mild-Moderate (LIMM) teacher for Joan K. Elementary School. I teach military connected students in a resource setting using my training from UCA. I spend my time sharing and advocating for science based reading with DoDEA staff. I work closely with another UCA graduate (SLP) and together we share amazing education with our colleagues. I am so grateful for my education from UCA."

Lauren Isom:

Lauren is a 2016 graduate of the Early Childhood Education program.

Lauren shared, "I have been teaching at Greenbrier Eastside Elementary for the last 4 years. I taught kindergarten for my first 3 years and now I’m teaching 5th grade Literacy. Soon after graduating, I went back to get my Masters in Reading at UCA. I now serve on the advisory board for the Masters in Reading program, which is a true honor to see how the program is continuing to shape wonderful educators. My greatest accomplishment was reached in February of 2020 when my school was named a Model PLC School after 3 years of very focused work through a partnership with Solution Tree and ADE’s PLC Pilot Program. I’ve become a stronger educator because of this learning and experience. It’s such a rewarding feeling to see students meet their own goals and succeed. I simply love seeing kids smile and get excited about learning and I strive to make that happen every day."

Brooke Noland:

Brooke is a 2015 graduate of the Early Childhood Education program. She taught second grade for two years in Greenbrier and is now working as an elementary school counselor in Jacksonville. Brooke is currently enrolled in the School Counseling masters program at UCA.

Brandon Harris:

Brandon is a 2017 graduate of the College Student Personnel Administration masters program.

Brandon shared, "Currently in my third year post-masters professional experience and living in the DMV. I am working at the University of Maryland in the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life. I am the inaugural Coordinator for Residential Experience. I have transitioned into this new role in July 2019 from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville as a Hall Director. In this role, I oversee the Resident Director program who are graduate assistants and assist with advising in FSL. While living in the DMV, I am still engaged with my fraternity (Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.) and connecting with younger professionals as I am still learning how to navigate around the DMV. Since graduating from UCA, I have been able to participate in the SEAHO RELI program, serve as the Chapter Advisor for a Sigma Chapter, and have been awarded the Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion award from the Division of Student Life at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Also, I am still an active Beyonce fan by attending concerts."

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