College of Education Newsletter

January 2020

Message from the Dean:

Belonging. There may be nothing more agonizing than not belonging or more sweet as belonging. We can all identify with times in our lives when we genuinely felt a part of a group. We can also identify times where we were excluded, for one reason or another. Our experiences of exclusion are often so powerful that we carry that hurt from childhood to adulthood. For those of us who work in P-12 schools or have children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews in school, it's often the thing we most worry about. As a special education teacher, I can't tell you how many times I've heard a parent say, "I just want him/her to be accepted and belong." The power of belonging was the central theme in our Disruptive Educational Equity Project (DEEP) workshops on January 7th and 8th. With a focus on racial equity, structural barriers to success, and exploring our unconscious bias, we learned that if we can create classrooms, schools, institutions, and communities where people feel a sense of belonging then we have the greatest change of closing the opportunity gap. The two day workshop was powerful. Here's what the participants had to say:

This training has challenged my thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion. It has provided me with a new language and a different way to approach the topic of equity with my students, peer circle, and others - Dr. Candice Barnes

Thinking about diversity is only the starting point in moving toward equity - Dr. Donna Wake

The first two days of DEEP training provided us with a profound and meaningful glimpse into how oppression is not only created, but how it is maintained, reinforced, and strengthened through our systems and ways of being. DEEP encourages us to use a lens of empathy and humility as we engage in difficult conversations with a desire to understand and take bold, courageous action to eliminate pervasive inequities - Dr. Patty Kohler-Evans

Our fear of loss keeps us from dismantling structures and processes of power and privilege - Dr. Rhonda McClellan

DEEP has empowered me to lean into discomfort while consistently and unapologetically being my authentic self. As a result, I can lead future teachers in recognizing or appreciating this superpower in themselves and in others - Ms. T.K. Gault

The first two days of DEEP provided me with the confidence to be open and honest with myself and my peers. I love that we are having difficult conversations and growing together to become better educators and people - Ms. Sunny Styles-Foster

I have not been in a professional development in awhile where the speakers were so engaging, the topic so profound, and leaning into discomfort was so scaffolded. I realized we have but scratched the surface of diversity, and we have much work to do, vitally important work, to reach equity - Dr. Amy Thompson

One statement made during the training that really resonated with me was that "stories are the communal currency of humanity." This really brought home to me the power of story to bridge divisions that go back centuries. If we can lean into each other's stories and build personal connections, we can also find the courage to advocate for changes to systems that perpetuate inequity - Ms. Jessica Herring Watson

My take away that I can't stop thinking about is...Dr. Darnisa Amante-Jackson’s lecture on the four “I’s” of oppression: In a system where a dominant group shares the idea that their group is more privileged than another can lead to a collective narrative that becomes the set of shared ideologies designed to separate people into groups. Shared ideologies shape institutional, interpersonal, and internalized policies and practices that support the dominant group’s shared ideas and practices to perpetuate a collective narrative that oppresses the "others." - Dr. Shelly Albritton

DEEP training informs the head, inspires the heart, and aspires our hands to work for the future. - Dr. Angela Webster

DEEP Training:

The College of Education is participating in a two day workshop from the Harvard Disruptive Educational Equity Project (DEEP). Dr. Darnisa Asante-Jackson and Ms. Mikel Brand Oliver are asking participants to lean into uncomfortable conversations regarding race and equity.

To read more about UCA DEEP and the six key stages of DEEP please visit

2019 COE Fall Graduation Open House:

The College of Education held its first Fall Graduation Open House on Friday, December 13, 2019 in Mashburn 103. The Open House served as an opportunity for Fall graduates to mingle with faculty and their peers. Graduates received their COE Teacher Pin at the event. Light refreshments were served.

Why They Want to Teach:

Ms. Brandy Walthall's (Clinical Instructor in ELSE) Education as a Profession courses decorated the Mashburn hallway with their reasons for becoming a teacher. We love reading about what inspires our students!

Online Teaching Endorsement (K-12):

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) recently approved the UCA College of Education (COE) to offer an endorsement program for the Online Teaching Endorsement (K-12).

The COE will work with the ADE in the development process for the Online Teaching Endorsement test. The test and program should be ready to go live in Spring 2021.

Where Are They Now:

Charles "Tony" Bertram:

Tony is a 2017 UCA graduate in Physics Education. He is currently teaching Physics, Physical Science, and Environmental Science at Cabot High School. He sponsors the Chess clubs at both the High School and the Freshman Academy and the Tabletop Club at the High School. Tony also recently got engaged. Congratulations!

Brooke Fruits:

Brooke is a 2016 UCA graduate with a MSE in Reading. She currently teaches kindergarten at Parkview Elementary in Van Buren, Arkansas. Brooke has also achieved national board certification in literacy in 2019.

Sarah McClanahan:

Sarah is a graduate of our Early Childhood Education (2012) and School Counseling (2016) programs. Currently, she is an elementary school counselor for the largest school district in the state of Georgia. During her time there, Sarah has received the 2018 Outstanding Instructional Support award and serves on the Emergency Response Team. She also loves to volunteer for Children's Miracle Network and Special Olympics.

Heather Nutt:

Heather is a 2003 UCA graduate with a degree in P-4 Early Childhood Education. In 2005, she received he MSE in Reading at UCA. She is currently the Coordinator of Elementary Curriculum for Conway Public Schools.

Where Are They Now Submissions:

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

Faculty News:

Dr. Nancy Gallavan:

The Arkansas Association of Teacher Educators (ArATE) announced a new award at its annual meeting in October. The Nancy P. Gallavan ArATE Distinguished Service Award was established to honor Arkansas teacher educators at university and colleges, in K-12 schools and school districts, and with the Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). This prestigious award honors Arkansas teacher educators for their leadership of and contributions to ArATE and teacher education. This new award is named for Nancy P. Gallavan, Ph.D., UCA Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, for her distinguished leadership of and generous contributions to ArATE, SRATE (Southeastern Association of Teacher Educators), and ATE (the national Association of Teacher Educators).

During her 15 years with ArATE, Dr. Gallavan has served as president, conference chair, interim executive secretary, board member, conference speaker/presenter, and ATE delegate. Dr. Gallavan originated the ArATE Electronic Journal and served as editor. Through Dr. Gallavan’s guidance and support, ArATE is honored annually at the ATE meeting as one of the outstanding state units. When the Nancy P. Gallavan ArATE Distinguished Service Award was announced, Dr. Gallavan shared, “Arkansas teacher educators are dedicated to advancing the teaching, learning, and schooling while advocating for equity, ethics, and efficacy in K-12 schools and higher education. This award allows ArATE to lift and celebrate teacher educators whose outstanding leadership and meaningful contributions serve Arkansas schools and students. I have greatly enjoyed being active in ArATE and associated with so many exemplary educators who have positively influenced my rewarding career as a teacher educator.”

Dr. Terry James:

Retired UCA Professor, Dr. Terry James, was honored at the 2019 annual conference of the Arkansas Association of Teacher Educators (ArATE) as the first recipient of the Nancy P. Gallavan ArATE Distinguished Service Award. Dr. James is well known in Arkansas as a leader in ArATE and teacher education; his contributions to teacher education and leadership studies provided insight and inspiration to many university teacher educators, K-12 school personnel, and state educational leaders.

Since his arrival in Arkansas in 1991, Dr. James served ArATE in multiple roles. He was an ArATE board member, conference chair, President, and state unit representative to the Delegate Assembly of national ATE. For a period of over 25 years, he attended every ArATE meeting and mentored many presidents and board members. He was a strong advocate for faculty participation in professional associations that addressed the preparation and career advancement needs of teachers and teacher educators. He was the founding co-editor of the SRATE Journal and this journal became a frequent outlet for Arkansans desiring to publish their research. Dr. James is a past-President for both the Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators and national Association of Teacher Educators. He used connections in these two organizations to assist ArATE members who were seeking opportunities to provide service at the regional and national levels as well as for those who wanted direct interaction with many of the most influential scholars in the field. Dr. James has received several honors during his career including the Roy L. Lauter Distinguished Service Award from the Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators, and the Distinguished Member Award and Hans Olsen Distinguished Educator Award from national ATE.

With regard to the ArATE Nancy P. Gallavan Distinguished Service Award, he said: “While my name is on the plaque, I am mindful that awards such as this one do not occur without the support and contributions of many others. As I accept this award and the honor that goes with it, I do so acknowledging that many others have contributed to my career and to the opportunities that I have been afforded. I am filled with memories of a 50+ year career in education, and this award reminds me of how fulfilling and rewarding my career has been. Thank you, ArATE for this special surprise and honor.”

Dr. Patty Kohler:

Dr. Patty Kohler, Professor and Director of the Mashburn Center of Learning, was recently selected to receive the 2020 SIM (Strategic Instruction Model) Leadership Award from the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning (KUCRL).

According to KUCRL, the award is designed to honor members of the SIM International Professional Developers Network for outstanding contributions they have made to the professional preparation of teachers and administrators. On top of receiving her award, Dr. Kohler was recognized at the Arkansas SIM Update Conference held January 23-24 at the University of Central Arkansas.