College of Education Newsletter

December 2020

Message from the Dean:

I think we would all agree that 2020 has been an unusually challenging year. Many of us have suffered great losses and trauma. All of us have dealt with a disruption of our normal lives. Many of the things I love best have been altered and I bet you all could say the same. I miss the normal face-to-face interactions with faculty, staff and students. I miss the idle chatter before class, bumping into someone in the hall and striking up a conversation, shaking hands, and getting to watch a smile spread across someone's face.

In the midst of all of this, I try to focus on the things I'm grateful for. I'm grateful for the students, faculty, and staff in the College of Education for their persistence and resilience. We made it through the semester and rose to the occasion to encourage, support, and prepare our students with flexibility and grace. I'm grateful for the COE leadership team. They have spent hours and hours working from March through the fall semester addressing issues related to equity and COVID. From personal experience, I can attest to their dedication, positive attitude, and wonderful sense of humor. I'm grateful that our students have the heart to make a difference in schools, the community, and the organizations in which they work. We are preparing the next generation of leaders and we are doing well.

It is my hope that this holiday season brings you peace, joy, and a LONG rest. In the words of Emily Dickinson:

'Hope' is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

May hope perch in your soul and sing to you a song of love.


Message from the Graduate School Dean:

Dr. Angela Barlow

In January 2020, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) launched its new digital-first journal, Mathematics Teacher: Learning & Teaching PK-12 (MTLT). As the inaugural Editor-in-Chief, I have a multitude of responsibilities, all of which are targeted towards an end goal of publishing a quality issue every month.

The image shared here is from MTLT’s November cover story. Although I find every article we publish noteworthy, I am particularly pleased with this one. A brief explanation – Historically, NCTM has focused on equity and access of all students; yet, rarely have the organization’s equity statements explicitly included LGBTQ+ students (cf. NCTM, 2014). As the author of the MTLT cover story makes clear, “having an LGBTQ+ identity affects the learning experiences of an individual” (Waid, 2020, p. 876) and, therefore, explicitly addressing the inclusion of LGBTQ+ students is vital. By attending to this omission in NCTM’s equity statements, the author has helped to move our field of mathematics education forward while simultaneously providing insights into what each of us as mathematics teachers can do in our own classrooms.

As previously stated, I am particularly pleased with this article and am proud to have played a very small part in seeing its way to publication. Its ideas transcend the mathematics classroom for application into other subject areas. Therefore, I hope that you will consider reading the article as you reflect on your own path towards supporting all students in meaningful learning. And by all, I mean ALL.


National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2014). Principles to actions: Ensuring mathematical success for all. Author.

Waid, B. E. (2020). Supporting LGBTQ+ students in k-12 mathematics. Mathematics Teaching: Learning & Teaching Pk-12, 113(1), 874–886.

A Letter of Thanks:

My name is Sherese Hicks. Yesterday, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation. I want to publicly recognize and appreciate my committee chair, Dr. Joan Simon, and my committee members. I began the School Psychology doctoral program in 2010, seventeen years after I graduated with my Master’s degree. I was a single parent with three sons, working to provide for my family, and attending school. Throughout the process, I constantly thought about quitting. I even looked for excuses to quit, but Dr. Simon would not allow me. She always greeted me with a smile and words of encouragement. When I dropped off the radar, she sent emails telling me that I could do it. Without Dr. Simon’s encouragement, professionalism, compassion, and concern I would have never heard my son say, “Hello, Dr. Mom.”

In a time when the world is divided and so many people are disenfranchised and mistrustful, my African-American sons witnessed UCA professors go above and beyond to help their mother achieve her goals. So, I want to appreciate the University of Central Arkansas, Dr. Simon and my committee members, Dr. Elson Bihm, Dr. Susan Barclay, Dr. Michael Scoles and Dr. Heather Martens for showing me, my sons and the world that education, compassion and assistance extend beyond age, gender and racial boundaries. The world needs to follow UCA's example. I am so proud to represent the University of Central Arkansas and the psychology department.

Thank you,

Sherese Hicks, PhD (December 12, 2020)

School Psychology

Big picture

Arkansas Literacy Association:

Several people were recognized for service on the following committees at the Arkansas Literacy Association Fall conference in November (online). These are people that are serving on the committees that read and select books for the short list from which students in Arkansas read and choose the final winners from.

Diamond Award: Dr. Amy Thompson (ELSE), Abby Nichols (MSE Reading student), Kyleigh Thompson (K-6 Alumni), and Dr. Susan Perry (ELSE).

Charlie Mae Simon Award: Dr. Tammy Benson (T and L), Dr. Jeff Whittingham (T and L and Chair of the Award Committee), Dr. Amy Thompson (ELSE), Dr. Erin Shaw (LEAD), and Abby Nichols (MSE Reading student)

Diamond Award Info:

Charlie Mae Simon Info:

Kappa Delta Pi’s (KDP) Mentors and Interns of the Semester:

It is with great pleasure that we share Kappa Delta Pi’s (KDP) mentors and interns of the semester. There were many excellent nominees to choose from this semester with many mentors remarking on how prepared and responsive our interns have been during this challenging semester.

KDP Mentor Award
MAT Mentor of the Fall 2020 Semester: Mrs. Davida Winfrey, Forrest City Junior High School.
● Nominated by TaJuan Whitby: During our collaboration, we would discuss and design constructive lessons, analyze data by monitoring and tracking students’ progress, and facilitated additional support sessions that provided supportive services and resources to students who needed academic support. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to work with Mrs. Winfrey, I feel like I’ve grown tremendously over the past year. This growth would’ve not been possible without the support of Mrs. Winfrey.
● Supervisor- Dr. Jeff Whittingham

Undergraduate Mentor of the Fall 2020 Semester: Mrs. Tonya Hogue, Mayflower Elementary.
● Nominated by Breann Justice: This is her 19th year of teaching and she has talked with me about past years of teaching and what she learned over the years. She has taught me more in one semester than I have gained in other semesters. I will carry this with me as I get my own classroom one day.
● Supervisor- Dr. Shoudong Feng

KDP Intern Award
Undergraduate Intern of the Fall 202 Semester: Ivy Stroud, Franklin Mitchell Intermediate in Vilonia.
● Nominated by Wendy Macal: I am blown away by Stroud's ability to take any lesson and add to it to engage the students. She has a wealth of knowledge on how to modify instruction to pivot from face-to-face to blended learning. She has been such a lifesaver this semester with so much going on. Stroud explains content to where the students understand it, uses misconceptions as learning opportunities, and provides questioning that really gets the students involved in the discussion and problem-solving. She is an inspiration.
● Supervisor- Kim Woodcliff

MAT Intern of the Fall 2020 Semester: Molly Rosenthal, Episcopal Collegiate School.
● Nominated by Patti Coleman: Molly has truly been an outstanding intern! It is very refreshing to see the sincere passion she exhibits for the teaching profession. She is a positive role model, extremely patient, always prepared, and determined to make an impact with each student. She has the ability to connect and motivate each child in a loving and kind manner. Molly knows the hard work, time, and dedication required of our profession. I am sincerely confident she will be an outstanding teacher. Lucky, lucky children!
● Supervisor- Dr. Tammy Benson

Faculty News:

Ashley Cooksey:

Ashley Cooksey, Director of the Technology Learning Center, was recently featured in School Library Connection. As a former school librarian, Ashley often uses picture books to help students make connections to abstract concepts, such as computer science and coding. Her lesson plan, Coding Through Picture Books, is available without a membership to SLC until December 30, 2020.

Dr. Shoudong Feng:

Dr. Shoudong Feng (Associate Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy and Special Education) recently had an article published in the "Journal of STEM Teacher Education." Coauthored with Dr. Uma Garimella and Dr. Carolyn Pinchback, the article is titled Integrating Literacy into STEM Education: Changing Teachers’ Dispositions and Classroom Practice. It can be viewed by going to:

Dr. Malcolm North and Dr. Rhonda McClellan:

COE faculty Dr. Malcolm North (Assistant Professor in the department of Leadership Studies) & Dr. Rhonda McClellan (Professor in the Department of Leadership Studies) partnered with Health Sciences faculty Dr. Duston Morris and Lead PhD student Josh Wilson to research and publish on the implicit ideas we hold about leadership. Their study, Rethinking Implicit Leadership Theories: Tomorrow's Leaders are Collective, Generative, and Adaptive, was published as a feature article in this month's Journal of Leadership Studies ( The study examined how dominant ego-centric ideas of leadership are adopting eco-centric views: where hierarchy and individualistic approaches are being replaced with emergent forms that emphasize collective, creative, and adaptive change in leadership. This article is one of a series of studies by Lead faculty in an attempt to focus leadership issues on equity, inclusion, and social change.

Ms. Rachel Shankles:

Ms. Rachel Shankles, LIBM Practicum Coordinator in the Department of Leadership Studies, has recently been elected to serve as President for the Arkansas Library Association. Also, Ms. Shankles' third book in the children's Triple S Farm series has been released by Yorkshire Publishers in Tulsa. The book titled Hootie’s Baby would make a great read-aloud for PreK-2 children. The series is about woodland animals on Rachel’s farm that have befriended her grandchildren. The series (Hawkie’s in Trouble, Hootie to the Rescue. and Hootie's Baby) may be found through the publisher or on Amazon.

Dr. Erin Shaw and Dr. Amy Thompson:

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 an article published in the journal "Reading Improvement." Coauthored with Dr. Stephanie Huffman (Missouri State University) their article is titled, Meeting the Needs of Students With Dyslexia: Librarians, Teachers, and Students Working Together Hand-in-Hand and can be viewed by clicking on the file below.

Dr. Jason Trumble and Dr. Debbie Dailey:

Dr. Jason Trumble (Assistant Professor in the department of Teaching and Learning) and Dr. Debbie Dailey (Chair of the department of Teaching and Learning) recently had an article published on the website Tales from the Classroom. Their article,

Authentic Assessment and Remote Learning, can be viewed by going to

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

Lindsey Duncan:

Lindsey is a 2009 graduate of UCA's Early Childhood Education program.

She is currently a fourth grade literacy teacher in the Cabot School District. After UCA, Lindsey extended her licensure through eighth grade and added an ESL endorsement and graduated with a Master’s degree in Gifted, Talented, and Creative Education. Lindsey said, "I was honored to be selected as Cabot’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and named as a top 14 regional finalist for Arkansas State Teacher of the Year. This is my twelfth year in the classroom, and I’m happy to say I’ll always be a UCA bear at heart!"

Jasmine Nettles:

Jasmine is a May 2020 graduate of UCA's College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) program.

She is currently a Residence Hall Coordinator at Eastern Kentucky University. Jasmine is in the beginning stages of preparing to apply for law school, and eventually transition out of Residence Life. She said, "I’m very proud to be one of the first new professionals to brave our field during a pandemic. We’re making it work." #BearPawsUp 💜

COE Recruitment Video:

UCA College of Education

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