College of Education Newsletter

April 2019

Message from the Dean:

The state of Arkansas has declared April Teacher Signing and Teacher Commitment Month. We have attended two great events. The Governor held a Signing Day at the Capital on April 12th and UCA COE had a campus signing day on April 16th in Mashburn. Both events allowed us to showcase our outstanding faculty, staff, and students. In recognition of #TeachArkansas and #ARsigning week here's my reflections on the power of education.

As a first generation college student, I had no idea the impact a college degree would have on my life and on the lives of my children. I was not a particularly great K-12 student, but I loved school. I loved my teachers, I loved the atmosphere, I loved learning. I knew I wanted to go to college, but I wasn't sure how to get there. I was lucky enough that Drury University offered me financial assistance and scholarships making college possible. I entered college and never looked back. Every day I'm grateful to walk onto this campus, where we get the opportunity to help others change the trajectory of their lives too. Who would have thought that a "kinda smart" girl from Garfield, Arkansas would be Dean for the premier teacher education college in the state of Arkansas..... not I.

So, here's to my teachers! Mrs. Mary Shores, my first grade teacher, who taught me that school was a place to love. Mrs. Karen Casey, who said "I bet you could get an A in Arkansas History if you wanted it" (I'd never gotten an A in school before). I got that A and many after! Darcy Wilkerson, my high school art teacher. She allowed an awkward kid to be different and valued for those "creative talents". Here's to my mother. She was my first teacher and inspired my curiosity. Finally, here's to my sons - Brydon and Jaxon. Brydon will graduate college in May with degrees in English, Communication, and English Education. Jaxon will start college in the fall. I know my college degree changed my life and has influenced my beliefs and ideals. Those changes have had a transformative impact on the life of my family. I'm grateful for my teachers and I'm grateful for a college clearly dedicated to educational equity.

** Photo to the left - School photo of Mrs. Nadine Chapman Groves (mother of Dean Groves-Scott) from 1929.

** Center photo - Dean Groves-Scott teaching at Meadowbrook Elementary in 1990.

** Photo to the right - Dean Groves-Scott at UCA Commencement 2016.

Spring into Code:

The College of Education held Spring into Code on Friday, March 29th. Approximately 97 elementary students and 40 UCA education pre-service teachers made Spring into Code a success. Students participated in coding events such as: painting with Spheros, green screen activities, Dash robot olympics, coding without technology, and more. Thanks to all those that made this event a success!

Arkansas Educator Commitment Signing Day:

Representatives from the UCA College of Education visited the Arkansas State Capitol on Friday, April 12th for the Arkansas Teacher Signing Day event with Governor Asa Hutchinson. The event is a precursor to the first annual Educator Commitment Signing Week, April 14-20, 2019. The week is dedicated to promoting and celebrating those who have committed to the teaching profession. New, veteran, and future teachers will have the opportunity to sign a Commitment to Education, showing their personal pledge to the students of Arkansas, the teaching profession, and the future of education in the state.

COE Educator Commitment Signing Day:

Governor Asa Hutcheson proclaimed the week of April 14-20 as educator commitment week in Arkansas. On Tuesday, April 16, the UCA College of Education held its educator commitment signing day, giving current and future educators the opportunity to publicly declare their commitment to education in Arkansas. By signing, educators commit to "... a personal pledge to education in the state of Arkansas. Signing this commitment acknowledges your dedication to inspiring and impacting Arkansas' students through a student-focused education. I am committed to the students of Arkansas, the teaching profession, and the future of education in my state."

COE Faculty Recognized at CTE Excellence in Teaching & Community Engagement Reception:

Drs. Stacey Loyless, Patty Phelps, and Amy Thompson were recognized at the Center of Teaching Excellence (CTE) Excellence in Teaching and Community Engagement Reception.

Dr. Loyless completed the requirements for the Center of Teaching Excellence (CTE) Recognition for Achievement in Online Teaching. In order to receive this achievement, the faculty member must declare their intention using the CTE event registration form at ​​, meet with a CTE team member to create a customized completion plan, complete 20+ hours of teaching excellence credits, and ensure all requirements are completed within one calendar year.

Dr. Phelps is retiring from UCA and was recognized for her commitment and service to the CTE.

Dr. Thompson completed the requirements for the CTE Recognition for Achievement in Online Teaching. In order to receive this achievement, the faculty member must declare their intention using the CTE event registration form at ​​, meet with a CTE team member to create a customized completion plan, complete 20+ hours of teaching excellence credits, and ensure all requirements are completed within one calendar year. Dr. Thompson was unable to attend the reception. Dr. Nancy Gallavan accepted Dr. Thompson's certificate in her absence.

2019 - 2020 College of Education Ambassadors:

Big picture

Cub Camps:

Bearswrite: From Pencils to Pixels

Aspiring authors entering grades 4 to 9 may attend. Bearswrite will involve students in five action packed days of creative writing using both traditional methods and writing with technology. Campers will study how to use voice, setting, word choice, character traits, point-of-view, journaling, and poetry.


Join the UCA College of Education for a fun programming & computer science one-day camp for 5th to 8th grade girls! Campers will have opportunities to explore computer programming and robotics while developing their computational thinking and problem solving skills.

  • {GirlsCode} is held on July 25, 2019 from 8:30am-3:30pm.
  • Please contact Ashton Hankins by phone: 501-450-5426 or email: for more information.
  • Please visit their website for more information:

STEMulate Engineering Academy

Funded by a UCA Foundation Grant and a contribution by Kimberly Clark Corporation – Conway Mills, STEMulate Engineering Academy is a low-cost academic summer enrichment camp that provides learners with opportunities to explore science and math through engineering. For children entering grades 3-6.

Registration is full. Please go to to be added to the waitlist.

UCA Challenge

This summer program is designed to offer students an exciting, hands-on curriculum. We believe all students want to be challenged. UCA is ready to meet such an ambitious challenge with hands-on activities guaranteed to promote curiosity and fun. For students entering grades 4-6 who share an interest in science.

UCA Super Kids

UCA Super Kids is a science camp for entering first, second, and third graders who desire to learn and have fun. The Super Kids camp is designed to offer students an exciting curriculum not offered in most schools. The classes include Oceanography, Zoology, and Ecology. A special 20 minutes per day is devoted to friendship building.

  • UCA Super Kids is a one-week camp and held June 3-7, June 10-14, June 17-21, and June 24-28 from 8:30am – 2:30pm.
  • Please contact Jamie Dallas by phone: 501-852-2822 or email: for more information.
  • The topics for this year are: Oceanography, Zoology, and Ecology. Students will participate in all three themes throughout the week.
  • Please visit their website for more information:

Faculty Retirements:

Dr. Kathleen Atkins:

Dr. Kathleen Atkins came to the UCA College of Education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1988. The rich history of UCA and the Department of Special Education, the dedicated faculty, and the passionate students initially drew her to UCA and have been the primary reason UCA has been her professional home for the past 31 years. In addition to her faculty role, Kathleen was given the opportunity to serve as COE Assistant Dean for three years, COE Interim Dean on two separate occasions, Department chair for 15 years, and Special Education Program Coordinator since returning to faculty role in 2016.

When asked to comment on her favorite memories while at UCA, she quickly responded by saying “I wouldn’t know where to begin as there are so many! My time as department chair is probably the most precious to me as I was blessed to work with the most amazing team of faculty who consistently demonstrated their commitment to preparing the very best teachers and their loyalty to each other and the department. I will always be grateful for my leadership experience with these folks because without their support and guidance, I would not be the person I am today. One special memory is my UCA supervision experience at Arkansas Pediatric Facility in Little Rock in 1988 because that is where I met my daughter, Nikki. Another great milestone was participating in the creation of the “Bears for Care” respite program because providing this type of support to families of children with diverse abilities has always been on my “bucket list.” And of course, I have such terrific memories of my students…their compassion and dedication is such a reminder of why I chose this profession in the first place. They have influenced my life in so many ways.”

Kathleen states that she will miss the people most when she leaves UCA because they are her family but she will also miss teaching and advising students. She looks forward to spending more time with her family, enjoying the outdoors, providing service to the community, and discovering her “unknown hobbies”.

Dr. Jud Copeland:

"It is difficult realizing that I will retire in May 2019. People often ask me: “What are you going to do when you retire?” Well, I have a very good answer for them. I am very happy that I can continue as an adjunct teacher in Leadership Studies. I want to actively keep my connection with the College of Education, my Department and, especially, my students." Dr. Jud Copeland has been at UCA since the Fall of 2007.

Jud said, "You may wonder why I came to UCA from LSU. Family is here and I grew up in Arkansas as well as graduating from the Hill (UA Fayetteville)." Jud has always managed to stay involved in many professional activities such as: Reviewing and editing the new AASL-CAEP National Standards during the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference in Phoenix, AZ on November 8-9, 2017, Vice-President/President of the Arkansas Library Association (ArLA) 2013 – 2015, and Chair of the Arkansas Library Association Constitution and Bylaws Committee 2014 – 2015. Jud also served as a Faculty Senator to represent the College of Education for seven years and had the opportunity to Chair the Senate Committee to revise and update the Faculty Senate Bylaws and Constitution.

Jud especially wanted to mention his meetings with Gladys Sachse and letting her know that he was developing a scholarship in her name for the UCA library media specialists. Jud loves the engagement he has had with his students and seeing their success as library media specialists in K-12 schools throughout Arkansas.

Dr. Patty Phelps:

After completing her doctorate at East Texas State University (now Texas A & M –Commerce), Dr. Patty Phelps came to UCA in August, 1987. Patty said, "Hank and I were drawn to the beautiful campus and the size of Conway (15,000 people then).

Patty joined the Department of Administration and Secondary Education where she taught secondary education methods, supervision, and curriculum courses. She said, "I have many fond memories of being in all corners of this building with many years of operating the video camera for microteaching lessons (room 232)!"

Patty said, "Taking my undergraduate courses on-site for ten years at Bob Courtway Middle School was an energizing time, followed by serving as Interim Department Chair and then Interim Dean. It has been an honor to prepare so many future teachers-- some of whom ended up teaching our daughter, Callie."

Patty's work in faculty development at UCA by co-writing the grant that established the Instructional Development Center (now the Center for Teaching Excellence) brought many relationships with faculty across campus as well as the opportunity to serve as Director.

Patty said, "I will miss my students and colleagues most of all. I will not miss grading papers." Retirement gigs she has in mind include: doing volunteer work at AETN and Carl Stuart Middle School, art journaling, reading (listening to audio books), walking, church activities, and baking, along with more frequent trips to Colorado, Louisiana, and Florida to see family.

Faculty News:

Dr. Amy Thompson:

The Arkansas Literacy Association recently appointed Dr. Thompson to the position of University Liaison to the Board.

Dr. Shoudong Feng

Dr. Feng and a group of pre-admission students volunteered at St. Joseph Elementary School’s annual Family Literacy Night on March 13th. This year, the theme was Circus/Carnival. The group set up a table representing UCA with books on Circus/Carnival on display and offered two activities related to literacy: tic-tac-toe with Circus/Carnival words and fishing for words related to Circus/Carnival. Many families and students visited the table and participated in the activities. It was a great fun service learning opportunity for education majors!

Students who participated in the family literacy night include Nicole Little, Grace Adeyemi, Gabi Miller, Saelish Khoja, Bri Hemby, and Hailey Daniel.

This is the second year Dr. Feng brought students from UCA to assist with the literacy event.

Dr. Janet Filer:

Dr. Janet Filer, chair of the Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education, recently presented as part of the poster sessions at the American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference conference with Drs. Tina Mankey and Margaret McGee from UCA. This is a great demonstration of inter-professional collaboration between special education educator and Occupational Therapists.

Student News:

Logan Toups:

Logan was recently named "Rookie Teacher of the Year" for her school, Williams/Ledger Elementary, in Texas. Logan is a graduate of the UCA elementary education program. Deanna Thompson, Assistant Principal, stated, "Unflappable is not a word I would normally use to describe a first year teacher, but Logan is an exception. When you step into her classroom, there is a sense of peace. Her calm and kind demeanor, along with explicit instruction, have made a huge impact on our students' willingness to try tasks they perceive as difficult. She has welcomed every bit of feedback and fearlessly implemented suggestions. Her students are a true reflection of her modeling both passion and a growth mindset."

Congratulations, Logan!

Upcoming Events:

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

COE Newsletter Archives:

You can now visit to view past issues of the COE Newsletter.