College of Education Newsletter

February 2019

Message from the Dean:

As you can tell by the length of this newsletter we’ve had a lot going on this month. I’m continually amazed by how much we do and how well we do it! Enjoy reading about our February accomplishments!

2019 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Best Practice Award:

We are excited to announce that the UCA College of Education has been awarded the 2019 AACTE Best Practice Award for Innovative Use of Technology for our iPad Mobile Initiative program. Dr. Donna Wake, COE Associate Dean, will be presented the award at the AACTE 71st Annual Meeting, February 22-24, in Louisville, KY.

The COE is in its third year of implementing the 1:1 iPad Mobile Initiative for all undergraduates in its initial preparation programs. Beginning in fall 2016, students who were enrolled in the university’s undergraduate elementary, special education, middle level, and all secondary education programs were immersed in the mobile technology initiative. The iPads devices were formally listed as a College of Education curriculum requirement, and students were able to purchase the devices at the education rate.

Apple recently designated UCA College of Education an Apple Distinguished School (ADS), and has conducted two trainings in the COE regarding the new Everyone Can Create curriculum.

"As the leading voice in educator preparation, AACTE represents teacher educators who sustain and advance our profession through innovation, high standards, and leadership. For 23 years, AACTE has honored the exceptional contributions of member institutions and individuals to our field,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “The 2019 AACTE Awards recipients exemplify excellence in educator preparation, and I look forward to honoring the University of Central Arkansas College of Education at the 71st Annual Meeting later this month.”

This award is given annually by AACTE to recognize the successful infusion of technology in a school, college or department of education. The AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology reviews these applications and selects the winning entry.

For more information about the COE iPad Mobile Initiative, please visit our website at

Impacting Tomorrow Summit:

On Feb. 8, UCA hosted the second annual the Arkansas Department of Education Impacting Tomorrow Summit, where about 600 Arkansas high school juniors and seniors in the Arkansas Teacher Cadet program gathered at UCA to learn more about pursuing teaching as a career. Throughout the day, these students from more than 48 high schools across the state attended sessions on transitioning to college, what studying education is like and emerging technologies in the field of education. General Sessions focused on empowering new teachers while breakout sessions included networking opportunities with colleges and universities, education service cooperatives and ADE representatives. Competitions involving public speaking, children’s literature, and lesson planning were also held.

Dr. Nykela Jackson organized the day, while COE faculty and staff from every department were on hand to judge competitions, direct busses, lead student activities, distribute lunches, and walk students across campus.

For more information on the Impacting Tomorrow Summit and Teach Arkansas, visit the Arkansas Department of Education.

Governor Signs Bill Raising Teacher Minimum Salaries:

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson recently invited UCA COE Dean Victoria Groves-Scott, and representatives from our teacher education programs, to attend the signing of a bill that would raise the minimum salary for teachers by $4,000 over the next four years. The bill received wide support, passing the House on a 91-0 vote and clearing the Senate by a 35-0 margin.

Governor Hutchinson has called for setting aside $60 million for school districts that are paying less than the new minimum requirements to comply with the legislation.

Student representatives that attended were: Kya Irby, Jasilyn Graham, Joshua Eddinger-Lucero, Kyleigh Reynolds, Jessica Brandon, KristiAnna Arechiga, and Kelsea Thrower.

College of Education Advisor Change:

As of February 18th, Leila Dickinson will be an advisor for the College of Education. Leila was formerly an instructor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and counseled/advised Pre-Dental Hygiene students as well as created 4 year plans for students at UAMS.

Leila has a B.S. in Dental Hygiene and a M.A. in Education. She is an active member of the UCA Family Network Committee. Leila can be reached at

Hank and Patty Phelps Education Scholarship Fund:

The College of Education would like to extend a special thank you to Hank and Patty Phelps! In September, they completed their $25,000 endowment for the "Hank and Patty Phelps Education Scholarship Fund." This fund is created for the purpose of providing scholarships for undergraduate students seeking teacher licensure who are active on the Student Orientation Staff (S.O.S.).

We thank you for creating this opportunity for our students!

Purple Society Inductees:

The College of Education is proud to announce that nine of our students were recently inducted into the UCA Purple Society. Members of the Purple Society are recipients of Who's Who Among UCA Students.This recognition is based on academic achievement, student leadership, contributions to the community, and an application process. Students honored have earned at least 90 academic hours and hold a 2.50 cumulative grade point average or higher.

Two other COE students were also recognized: Matthew Stelting (secondary education major) and Bailee Stevens (secondary education major).

Haley Ashabranner:

Haley is from Lonoke, AR and is majoring in Special Education. After graduation, she hopes to stay in the central Arkansas area and find a job teaching.

Haley stated, "UCA is the best campus in the state and has given me so many great opportunities to grow in my academics and leadership. I have served with multiple organizations, done philanthropy work, become a member of greek life, and obtained the deans list all during my time at this university. I am so thankful and honored to be able to represent this university."

Rachael Boysen:

Rachael is from Bentonville, Arkansas and is majoring in Elementary Education. After graduation in December, she hopes to teach in Northwest Arkansas and, soon after, apply to graduate school.

Rachael says, "My time at UCA and in the College of Education has been very rewarding. I have grown professionally through my program with the support of caring and experienced professors. Additionally, I have grown in my leadership skills by being involved in organizations such as Delta Zeta Sorority, the Panhellenic Executive Board, Teachers of Tomorrow, Kappa Delta Pi, Catholic Campus Ministry, and my time as an Academic Success Coach. I am so grateful for my family and friends as well as wonderful mentors, teachers, and students that have supported my dream of being an educator. I cannot wait to continue to grow and see what lies ahead for me."

Jayme Devers:

Jayme is from White Hall, AR and is majoring in Elementary Education. Upon graduation this December, she plans to stick around Conway for a while as she pursues her Masters degree in Special Education at UCA.

Jayme stated, "I have loved every second of my time at UCA and in the College of Education. I have made lifelong friendships and know that I always have the support of the most amazing professors in the field of education. I am sad to see my time here coming to an end pretty soon, but I am forever grateful for the opportunities that I have had and I look forward to having my own classroom."

Emery King:

Emery is from Ozark, Arkansas. She is a Special Education major and, upon graduation, plans to teach Special Education at the elementary level in the Northwest Arkansas area so she can be closer to home.

Emery stated, "I would like to thank all of the UCA professors and other supporters that have helped me reach my goal of becoming a Special Education teacher. I am so thankful for the opportunities I have encountered throughout my time in the Education Department. I know I am fully prepared to be an impactful and successful teacher."

Heather Marchal:

Heather is from Sherwood, AR and is majoring in Elementary Education. After graduation, she plans to return home to teach.

Heather says, "Throughout my time at UCA I have been a part of such a great community. I have completed over 100 hours of community service and have been on the Dean’s and President’s list multiple times. Through the many organizations that I have been a part of, I have been able to grow, not only within myself, but throughout the community."

Claire Parkerson:

Claire is from Bentonville, Arkansas and is majoring in Elementary Education. She would love to teach at the Kindergarten level. After graduation, Claire plans to move back to Bentonville and have a classroom of her own.

Claire stated, "UCA has brought me so many opportunities and has taught me so much. I would not be the person I am today without the constant support and education from UCA and its professors. Go Bears!"

Bailey Smith:

Bailey is from Van Buren, AR and is a Special Education major. After graduation in the spring, she plans to pursue a degree in Occupational Therapy.

Bailey stated, "During my time at UCA I have been involved in multiple organizations, including Greek Life. I have also held several leadership positions. This university has helped me grow both professionally and personally. I am very grateful for being given the opportunity to represent this great university."

Faculty Achievements:

Dr. Thomas Bruick:

Dr. Thomas Bruick, Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership Studies, successfully defended his dissertation, "Mastery Motivation: Moving Towards a Better Understanding of College Student Success," as part of his doctoral program at Colorado State University.

Dr. Bruick teaches classes for the College Student Personnel Services and Administration Program in the College of Education. Congratulations, Thomas!

Drs. Rachelle Miller, Donna Wake, and Jeff Whittingham:

Dr. Rachelle Miller, Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Dr. Donna Wake, COE Associate Dean, and Dr. Jeff Whittingham, Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, recently had their paper, "The Content and Construct Development of the PACT Survey" accepted for publication in the Studies in Educational Evaluation journal.

The article details the development and validation of a teacher arts integration survey. The survey yields reliable scores allowing for valid inferences around K-12 teachers' interests and attitudes toward arts integration across three constructs: their perception of the value of the arts (visual art, music, dance, theater), their willingness to integrate the arts into their classroom curriculum, and perceived barriers to arts integration practices in K-12 contexts.

Drs. Jason Trumble and Debbie Dailey:

Dr. Jason Trumble and Dr. Debbie Dailey, Assistant Professors in the Department of Teaching and Learning, recently had their article "Change in Spatial Visualization Mental Rotation Abilities of Intermediate Elementary Students" published in the Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching (JCMST).

According to the abstract, "The study analyzed the malleability and amount of change in fourth through sixth grade students using the Revised PSVT:R. Participants engaged in a STEM camp driven by maker pedagogy and focused on the engineering design process."

Drs. Rachelle Miller and Nykela Jackson:

Dr. Rachelle Miller, Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, and Dr. Nykela Jackson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, are active members of the Mid-South Educational Research Association (MSERA) and were recently elected to the 2019 Board of Directors. Dr. Miller has been elected as President Elect and Dr. Jackson has been elected as Arkansas Director. They will be attending MSERA's annual spring meeting in March. In addition, MSERA's 2020 Annual Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock, AR on October 27-30, 2020. This will also be the same year that Dr. Miller will be serving as President of MSERA.