College of Education Newsletter

August 2018

Message from the Dean:

On Wednesday, August 22nd, I welcomed the College of Education faculty to the 2018-19 academic year. Every year, I try to find something to highlight in my opening message. This year I selected "building community", both a community of practice and a community of scholarship. In order to build community, it's necessary to develop relationships. Research suggests that relationships are often built and/or strengthened through laughter. It's important for us to experience shared laughter. Laugher in the workplace makes meetings more productive, builds a culture of empathy, enhances trust, facilitates motivation, and fosters learning. The College of Education faculty and staff continue to fill Mashburn Hall with laughter, learning, and innovation. I can't wait to see what this year brings.

Here are some highlights of our points of pride from 17-18:

  • COE faculty and staff hosted the second annual Partnership Cafe. The 2018 Partnership Cafe involved UCA faculty, K-12 teachers and administrators, as well as community partners and parents from across central Arkansas. There were approximately 40 attendees. The purpose of the Cafe was to encourage communication and collaboration regarding current early and advanced field practices within teacher preparation programs.

  • Cultural Proficiency Field trips were organized and implemented for the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 terms. There have been seven trips to four schools in three districts. These field trips allowed College of Education Candidates to visit schools outside of our placement range for field experiences. The schools were selected for their diversity and exceptional educational practices.

  • The COE continued involvement in the Arkansas Department of Education's Teacher Cadet program to network with local schools, teachers, and students studying education as a profession. As part of the Teacher Cadet program the college co-hosted the Impacting Tomorrow Summit on Feb. 2, 2018 for high school students interested in pursuing teaching as a profession. Forty high schools with approximately 400 students attended.

  • The College continues to implement the 1-1 Mobile Initiative. Undergraduate teacher education majors use iPads in their college courses and in their field placements for the purpose of productivity and instructional practice. The focus on giving student voice, choice, and access though the use of technology.

  • The College continues the legacy of extensive community outreach and service. Through camps, tutoring programs, respite care, field trips, robotics competitions, and service project we make an impact in our local community and state.

  • The renovation of the Mashburn Technology Learning Suite created a learning commons in the College. The suite consists of a state of the art technology-enhanced classroom (equipped with MacBook computers, modular furniture, and televisions), a makerspace, a digital learning commons (or Technology Learning Center), and a large meeting room.

  • The LIBM faculty collaborated with T&L and ELSE faculty to host a full day conference focused on literacy and media.

  • Our graduate programs, including the Interdisciplinary PhD program, continue to gain recognition for their excellence, quality of the graduates, and research.

  • Last year College faculty published 58 scholarly peer-reviewed manuscripts and over 150 professional presentations.

Leadership Studies Graduate Portfolios:

On Saturday, August 4th, graduate students in the Department of Leadership Studies presented their exit portfolios.

There were presentations from one MS ITEC student, three EdS LIBM students, and 12 MS LIBM students.

Congratulations Summer graduates!

COE Freshmen Welcome:

The UCA College of Education held its Freshmen Welcome event on Monday, August 20th. During the event, entering freshmen that have declared an education major met with the COE Dean, faculty, staff, and student ambassadors. The Freshmen Welcome included new/transfer students enrolled in UCA for the first time.

Represented in this group of students were 13 Special Education majors, 72 Elementary Education majors, and 11 Middle Level Education majors. Secondary and K-12 education majors attended welcome meetings in their designated colleges.

Welcome, New Faculty and Staff:

Mrs. Connie Ballard:

Connie joins the Department of Leadership Studies as an Administrative Specialist.

She considers herself a native living in the not so small town of Conway for 30+ years. Connie and her husband Bo are approaching their 30 year wedding anniversary. They have been blessed with three beautiful girls: Brooke (a UCA alumni), Hope (a sophomore Occupational Therapy major at UCA), and Peyton (a Sophomore at Conway High School). They also have 3 crazy dogs, 2 cats with a personality as strong as their girls, 8 chickens, and 2 wild goats! The Ballard household never has a dull moment!

Connie would like to extend her warmest gratification to the team at UCA for giving her the opportunity to begin her career as a bear. "There is no greater feeling than to represent an institute that already has given two of my girls an amazing education and many of the greatest times of their lives."

Mr. Thomas Bruick:

Thomas earned his BBA in Marketing and Master’s degree in College Student Personnel Services and Administration from the University of Central Arkansas. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate within the Higher Education Leadership program at Colorado State University. His professional background includes experience within residence life and student success and retention. Thomas is active in the Southern Association for College Student Affairs, including chairing multiple committees and serving on the conference planning committee. His primary research agenda explores the role of environmental, experiential, and noncognitive factors in college student success with a specific focus on conditionally admitted students. Additional research interests include graduation preparation within student affairs, higher education policy, and access.

Thomas is excited to join the UCA faculty and invest in the development of emerging scholar practitioners within the CSPA program. He looks forward to continuous intellectual challenge and growth as a member of the community of scholars at UCA and specifically within the College of Education.

"It is surreal and humbling to serve in the CSPA program that was instrumental in my personal development, and I am eager to pay forward that opportunity to future generations of higher education educators."

Dr. Stacy Loyless:

Before joining the UCA College of Education Faculty, Dr. Loyless served over 30 years as an educator in public schools, 22 of those years were in leadership. His career included experience as a science teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal, principal, central office administrator, and university adjunct professor. In addition, Dr. Loyless has provided instructional and leadership consulting services to K-12 districts.

Dr. Loyless received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Arlington in December 1986, a Master’s in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce in August 2004, and his Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Tarleton State University in May 2014.

Dr. Loyless’ research interests include: instructional design, student engagement, educator efficacy, academic rigor, and student achievement.

Dr. Loyless and his wife Leann have been married 29 years. They have two daughters, Lauren (24) and Madeline (19).

Welcome to the Department of Leadership Studies!

Dr. Malcolm North:

Dr. North is a new assistant professor in the interdisciplinary Ph.D in Leadership Studies program. He came to UCA in 2015 after ten years in leadership consultancy and development in the non-profit sector in Europe working with business professionals, local government, NPO and IGO leaders. Originally from Australia, Malcolm spent 15 years with a multinational media organization, several years in Asia conducting social research and a further ten years in Europe as a scholar-practitioner, consulting, researching, and writing in leadership development and human rights abuses.

For his first doctorate, Malcolm studied NPO leadership development. His second doctorate in organizational psychology profiled thinking, decision-making and value-orientations in leaders from multiple sectors in health, education, business and non-profit organizations. He has formally studied language, communication, culture and psychology and believes that the interdisciplinary Ph.D program is a perfect fit for developing his teaching and research interests.

He looks forward to meeting and learning from his new colleagues in the College of Education as well as investing in new cohorts of Ph.D students in the leadership program.

Dr. Stefanie Sorbet:

Dr. Sorbet joins the Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education. She is from Covington, Louisiana and recently completed her doctoral dissertation and graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University in May.

Dr. Sorbet's previous experience includes teaching in the Louisiana public elementary schools for ten years. Most recently, she has spent the last seven years as a literacy methods instructor and site coordinator for year-long resident student teachers at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Dr. Sorbet and her husband Greg have three kids; Sydney who is sixteen, Ryan who is thirteen, and Owen who is nine. This summer they are relocating to the Conway area and looking forward to this adventure. "My family loves exploring and seeing new places. We are so excited to explore Arkansas and experience our new home."

Mrs. Jessica Herring-Watson:

Mrs. Jessica Herring Watson was recently hired as a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. She is coming to UCA from Benton Public Schools, where she taught high school and middle school English for seven years.

Jessica is an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Educator. She earned a Masters in Teacher Leadership and Instructional Facilitation and was named Teacher of the Year for Benton Middle School in 2014. In 2016, she was an ISTE Technology in Action Award recipient for her work with coding in the literature classroom. As an ISTE, NCTE, AMLE, ILA, and SXSWedu presenter, Jessica's primary focus is on creating meaningful relationships between technology integration and engaging pedagogy.

Jessica is excited to join the Department of Teaching & Learning as a full-time faculty member because, as a graduate from T&L, it feels like coming home! She is also excited about the opportunity to help prepare future teachers to best help all their students achieve success.

Faculty Accomplishments:

Dr. Susan Barclay:

Dr. Susan Barclay recently received tenure and promotion at the University of Central Arkansas. Dr. Barclay teaches for the CSPA program in the department of Leadership Studies. Though education was always a dream for her she took a bit of a detour getting here.

"Educational environments were always my safe space, when I was a child, and more often than not, I craved escape from the chaotic environment of home. Education was my escape. As such, there is no surprise I wanted to be a teacher “when I grew up.” I practiced often by gathering my dolls and stuffed animals, standing at my small chalkboard, and teaching them “lessons” I thought they needed. They were good students, they sat quietly and absorbed the daily material (although they never asked questions!)."

After graduating high school, Susan got married and started a family. "As I raised my family and took care of their needs, the dream of teaching faded increasingly. After several years as a full-time mom, I went to work in the corporate sector and spent over 26 years there. I began as a file clerk (pre-computer files!) and worked my way through multiple positions to, finally, that of a senior surety underwriter, where I spent my days analyzing personal and business financial files and making multi-million dollar decisions. Increasingly, I became aware of my discontent with the work I was doing, which seemed meaningless. The work seemed to have no real influence, and I knew I wanted a change. As I thought about what else I might do for a career, I knew one thing was certain: I need a college degree. So, as I sent my firstborn daughter off to college, I, too, begin my undergraduate education."

Upon earning her bachelor’s degree, Susan went straight into a mental health counseling graduate program. "My intention was to graduate and open a life skills training center for women, but life had other plans. By happenstance, I wound up completing my 700-hour internship in a college counseling center. I was hooked! I was back in the safe environment I craved but didn’t realize." After several years of providing mental health and career counseling and, also, teaching a career and life-planning course, Susan decided to pursue my doctorate, so she could move into a faculty role.

"When I graduated in 2012, UCA and the College of Education became my home. Teaching, scholarship, and service seemed natural extensions of myself, and I am appreciative of my COE and university colleagues whose evaluation of my work confirmed that fulfilling my lifelong – though interrupted – dream of teaching was an excellent choice for me. My focus has not been on tenure and promotion as much as it’s been showing up every day and doing what I love most, which is teaching and preparing the future of the higher education/student affairs profession. My reward has been CSPA students graduating and moving into successful careers where they help students succeed in college and life. Both tenure and promotion are the icing on the cake!"

Congratulations, Dr. Barclay!