College of Education Newsletter

June 2021

Message from the Dean:

I've been reading the History of Public School Education in Arkansas written in 1912 by Stephen Weeks. In the document, the author writes "the State furnishes normal training through a six-weeks' course at the State university; through the normal school for whites at Conway." There was a branch of the normal school in Pine Bluff for blacks. Two things strike me, one we could prepare a teacher in 6 weeks, and two we weren't inclusive. I'm proud of the progress we have made and I'm especially proud that the college has embraced a mission that centers equity. I believe that diversity and equity are the necessary conditions for excellence and we strive for excellence. This is hard work that we have committed ourselves to. Every day we are looking at our practices, policies, and interactions to determine if we have arbitrary barriers for some. I'm really pleased that the college is moving away from testing standards for admission to teacher preparation, especially given the criticism of standardized tests for bias against students of color, first generation college students, and students from low socioeconomic situations. The last quote in the document is relevant today, "The greatest need for the schools is not more money for efficient teachers, or a better system, though these are necessary; it is vision". Our vision has grown to expand beyond teacher preparation to include leadership and to center equity in all we do. Our vision serves as our north star.

If you have some time or need some summer beach reading, you might want to check this out.


COE Summer Professional Learning Series:

It's not too late to sign up for our Summer Professional Learning Sessions!

This summer, the College of Education is proud to present virtual professional development (PD) sessions to Arkansas teachers via Zoom. PD credit hours approved by DESE/ADE will be offered for each session. These sessions are NO COST! Space is limited, but session recordings will be available at a later date.

To see which sessions are available, and to register, go to

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Dean's Advisory Council:

The Dean's Advisory Council is a volunteer group of interested and influential friends of the UCA College of Education (COE). The primary purpose of this group is to provide general support for the College of Education. Members of the COE Dean's Advisory Council are selected by the Dean in consultation with the College’s Development Officer for their ability to contribute to the overall advancement of the College.

Each month, a member of the Dean's Advisory Council will be featured in the newsletter.

Dr. Tammy Woosley:

Dr. Tammy Woosley was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas where she graduated from Stuttgart High School in 1989. She received her Bachelor of Science in Education Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Central Arkansas in 1993. She furthered her education at UCA earning a Master of Science in Educational Technology and Library Media in 2000 with an additional certification in Educational Leadership. In 2013, she earned her Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership from Arkansas Tech University. She earned her doctoral degree in May 2015 from Lamar University with a degree in Educational Leadership. Her dissertation was entitled, A Phenomenological Study of High School Dropouts and the Students’ Voice.

Tammy began her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher at Vilonia Primary School where she also taught first grade. In 2004, she accepted a job in the Conway School District as an Assistant Principal at Ida Burns Elementary School. She became the principal at Theodore Jones Elementary in 2008 and remains there today. In 2014, she became a Designated Master Principal through the Arkansas Leadership Academy.

Tammy has served on many committees and boards over her 27 years in education. Most recently, she was President of the Arkansas Association of Curriculum and Instructional Administrators and continues to be a member of Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators. She serves on the board of Arkansas Association of Curriculum and Development as an ex-offico board member. Currently, she serves on Dean Groves-Scott's Advisory Council for the College of Education at the University of Central Arkansas.

Kappa Delta Pi Spring 2021 Award Winners:

Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, recently named the 2021 award winners from UCA's College of Education.

Jessica Yates was awarded the Spring 2021 KDP Outstanding MAT Intern Award. She is a high school math teacher for grades 7-12 at St. Paul High School in the Huntsville School District. Jessica completed her Master of Arts in Teaching degree while teaching math for two years. Her mentor teacher, Mr. Darrell Trahan, is a science teacher at St. Paul High School.

Emily Bueno was awarded the Spring 2021 KDP Outstanding Intern Award. She completed her internship in a fifth-grade classroom at Bryant-Springhill Elementary School in Greenbrier, AR, working with her mentor teacher, Mrs. Jodi White. Emily is a teacher candidate in the Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education (ELSE).

Mrs. Courtney Taylor was awarded the Spring 2021 KDP Outstanding MAT Mentor Teacher Award. She is a Multi-Classroom Teacher Leader in ninth- and tenth-grade English at North Little Rock High School in North Little Rock, AR. Her intern was Samantha Korksmeier, an MAT teacher candidate in the Department of Teaching and Learning (TL).

Ms. Kaitlyn Ryals was awarded the Spring 2021 KDP Outstanding Mentor Teacher Award. She is a sixth-grade math teacher at Bob and Betty Courtway Middle School in Conway, AR and a UCA middle level teacher preparation program graduate. Her intern was Octavis Mitchell from the Department of Teaching and Learning (TL).

COE Research and Scholarly Activity Award Recipients:

The College of Education (COE) recently named the 2021 Research and Scholarly Award recipients. Each recipient is awarded $1000.00 to support their work over the summer on their scholarly activity. The recipients will also share their research at the next College of Education Research Day in the spring of 2022.

Dr. Thomas Bruick:

Dr. Thomas Bruick will be completing data analysis for a research project in progress, Scholar-Practitioner Identity in Student Affairs: A Content Analysis of Entry-Level Job Descriptions. Dr. Bruick shared, "Higher education and student affairs practice that is informed and rooted in scholarship is critical for effective, equitable, and dynamic practice. Unfortunately, many structures in the field separate scholarship and practice including professional development opportunities, conferences, journals, and graduate preparation programs void of practical application experiences. Recent studies have explored the benefit of graduate preparation coursework (Bettencourt et al., 2017) and stand-alone professional development initiatives (Strietzel et al., 2020) in supporting a scholar-practitioner identity. However, limited research has explored the role of work environments and expectations in supporting a scholar-practitioner identity within student affairs professionals."

Dr. Bruick added, "I am conducting a content analysis of entry-level job descriptions in higher education and student affairs to explore to what extent the descriptions display concepts of and communicate expectations of scholarly practice. Data were collected spring and summer 2020 and included 120 entry-level job descriptions across a wide range of functional areas and institution types. In partnership with students in my Research Methods course this spring, we developed a codebook grounded in Reason and Kimball's (2012) Model of Theory-to-Practice and Boyer's (1990) concept of the Scholarship of Application. I look forward to continuing data analysis this summer and preparing a manuscript for potential publication."

Dr. Odunola Oyeniyi:

Dr. Odunola Oyeniyi said, "I will use the award in support of my suicide prevention program among first-year college students on campus. I will focus on teaching the participants some self-harm coping techniques, building emergency contacts, improving social support, and offering motivational material. This tactic is designed to enable participants to stay mindful, remain positive, and to keep participants safe by drastically reducing the tendency of self-harm. The program will start in August and will involve all first-year students from different departments. By adding suicide preventon to a school's program, students are better able to handle and address suicidal thoughts or intentions. Prevention can save lives, especially those of first-year college student populations who are at higher risk."

Dr. Susan Perry:

Dr. Susan Perry said, "There have been numerous studies (Wren & Segal, 1998; Vickers, 2010; Becker & Palladino, 2016; McGregor, Langenfeld, Van Horne, Oleson, Anson, & Jacobson, 2016; Taylor, Turnbull, Bleasdale, Francis, & Forsyth, 2017) of the struggles and achievements students with disabilities encounter while earning their undergraduate degrees from public, four-year higher education institutions. Little research has explicitly been conducted with an increasing number of undergraduate college students declaring a specific learning disability/dyslexia. The purpose of this study is to give a voice to undergraduate dyslexic students by exploring their academic, emotional, social beliefs, attitudes, and needs as they endeavor to be included in the journey of earning a bachelor's degree. It is important that these students be heard so institutions can provide appropriate and individualized services through their disability support personnel, professional development to staff and faculty, and develop programs that will educate others on how to achieve equity in higher education."

Dr. Stefanie Sorbet:

Dr. Stefanie Sorbet said, "I will utilize the COE grant in partnership with ARCH Ford to begin the initial planning and implementation phase of a program to support novice teachers through training school administrators." The program, Forming the Foundation-Establishing a system of support for all new teachers, was coauthored by Dr. Sorbet along with Drs Patty Kohler-Evans, Donna Wake, and Kimberly Calhoon.

Dr. Sorbet added "During the summer months of 2021, initial planning and implementation will begin as a pilot school will be chosen within the ARCH Ford cooperative. This pilot school’s administration will participate in initial meetings, trainings, and planning to begin implementation for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year. Data will be collected to draft a research article on best practices in supporting novice teachers as well as inform practice in training school administrators to implement the program. This project will further enhance community partnership within Arkansas public schools in order to best serve our recent graduates from UCA as well as other novice teachers across our state while offering suggestions to improve instructional practices in teacher preparation within our own programs."

Dr. Amy Thompson:

Dr. Amy E. Thompson will utilize the award to work on the research project, "Serving Students with Special Needs: Best Practices for Remote Learning." Her research study draws from the work of McLeskey et al. (2019) in their publication High Leverage Practices for Inclusive Classrooms. The text elevates the necessity of collaboration with colleagues and families, the need to focus on data and evidence to inform practice, and a focus on social-emotional learning. Data analysis will identify which high leverage practices teachers migrated into online spaces.

During the summer months of 2021, data is beginning to be analyzed and drafting a paper has begun. The project described is but one piece of the data collected during the pandemic. Data will be broken down into multiple installments with multiple papers focusing on students’, teachers’, and parents’ perceptions using grounded theory; intervention provided during this extended event; and using these results in educator preparation programs.

Arkansas Association of Instructional Media Award Winners:

Congratulations to Ms. Ashley Cooksey (TLC Director), Dr. Erin Shaw (Assistant Professor, LIBM & ITEC Programs Coordinator), and Rachel Shankles (Adjunct Instructor in the department of Leadership Studies).

They are all recipients of awards from the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media. Award recipients will be honored at the upcoming AAIM Conference in July.

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Faculty News:

Dr. T.K. Anderson:

Dr. T.K. Anderson recently received the GLOCER 2021 Best Paper Award for her paper Acknowledging the Voices of Black Men Educators: Advancing Engagement in and Equity across Education Authentically.

T.K.'s paper is based on her doctoral dissertation: Representation of Black Men Educators in K-12 Public Schools: Impact on Recruitment, Retention, and Responsibilities to Education. TK graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a Doctorate of Education in School Leadership in May, 2021.

GLOCER 2021, the Global Conference of Education and Research, received more than 360 conference proposals of which 186 were accepted and considered for this award. The presenters and participants represented more than 36 countries.

Dr. Nancy Gallavan, Dr. Erin Shaw, and Dr. Amy Thompson:

Dr. Nancy Gallavan (retired UCA COE professor), Dr. Erin Shaw (Assistant Professor in the department of Leadership Studies), and Dr. Amy Thompson (Assistant Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) recently had a book published. Dr. Gallavan served as an editor of "Online Teaching and Learning for Teacher Educators." She also co-authored Chapter 5: Classroom Assessment Purposes, Practices, and Proficiency with Dr. Thompson. Dr. Shaw coauthored Chapter 10: Stories from the Field and Epilogue: Challenges, Choices, Changes, and Cheers.

You can find more out about their book by going to

Dr. Trina Harlow:

Congratulations to Dr. Trina Harlow on receiving the 2021 Gilbert A. Clark and Enid Zimmerman Leadership Advocacy Award. The award recognizes teachers in art education who have made outstanding contributions as a leader advocating for the arts locally, regionally, nationally, and/or internationally.

Thom Knab, president of the National Art Education Association (NAEA) said, "This award is being given to recognize excellence in professional accomplishment and service by a dedicated art educator. Trina Harlow exemplifies the highly qualified art educators active in education today: leaders, teachers, students, scholars, and advocates who give their best to their students and the profession."

Dr. Odunola Oyeniyi:

Dr. Odunola Oyeniyi, Assistant Professor in the department of Leadership Studies, recently had an article published in the Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education. The title is " A Comparison of First-Year International Students' Adjustment to College at the Undergraduate and Graduate Level" and it can be accessed at

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