College of Education Newsletter

September 2021

Message from the Dean:

Every year in September, I work on the COE Annual Report. These reports are an opportunity to share all of the accomplishments achieved in a year. I'm always amazed at the amount of work we do and the recognition that we receive both individually and collectively. You can find the reports on the COE Website at This year I'm particularly pleased to share data from Sponsored Programs that shows we have received $2,796,390 in grant funding in 2021. This is an incredible accomplishment!!!! The Arkansas Research Center, which reports to the Dean's Office, has several major grants through the Arkansas Department of Education. The Mashburn Center for Learning has significantly contributed to our grant totals for 2021. In Addition, Dr. Charlotte Green Parham received a million dollars from the Arkansas Department of Education to promote parental involvement and literacy to children (ages 0 to 5) across the state of Arkansas. We are in our third and last year of funding from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation for Diversity, Belonging, Inclusion, and Equity work. Beyond our big grants most of the COE faculty continue to work on smaller grants that have a big impact on our students and programs. Dr. Amy Thompson was just awarded a $3,900 grant for Dyslexia Intervention Training for the MSE in Literacy Program from The Dollar General Literacy Foundation. All of these programs make a difference, big or small. They allow us to build our programs, buy materials, receive professional development, and offer our students more.

With that I'd like to announce that the College of Education has been given a new position from the foundation. In the past, our Director of Development has been a half-time position with the other half assigned to another college or to planned giving. We have just hired a new Director of Development, Mollie May Henager. Mollie May is assigned solely to the College of Education with half of her responsibilities in development and half in grant writing. Her background in grant writing should help us increase the number and size of grants we apply for and receive. I'm very excited about this change. If you are thinking about a grant (big or small) reach out to me and we can arrange a meeting with Mollie May.

Vicki Groves-Scott

TLC Tech Tools:

The Technology Learning Center (TLC) is not just a place to study and print. We also offer many items for both students and faculty to checkout. We recently added 25 MacBook Air's to our checkout inventory along with a total of seven laptops that have NVivo software. You can see an updated list of our checkout items by going to our equipment checkout spreadsheet.

The TLC also has a Wakelet which shows items we have in our Makerspace and for checkout (video and text tutorials provided).

COE Grant Awards - UCA Office of Research and Sponsored Programs:

This year the COE has received $2,796,390 in grant funding. In this issue of the COE Newsletter we wanted to put a focus on grant writing. We reached out to Joy Ritchey, Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Dr. Charlotte Parham (Assistant Professor in the department of Leadership Studies), Dr. Patty Kohler and Dr. Renee Calhoon (Co-Directors of the Mashburn Center), and Dr. Louis Nadelson (Chair of the department of Leadership Studies) to get their insight and advice on grant writing/funding.

What advice do you have for grant writing?

Joy Ritchey: Call the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. We are here to walk alongside UCA faculty and staff through the entire grant lifecycle. If someone does not know where to start, we will spend time learning about your interests and goals and then use those to guide a search for funders that might be a good fit. We can provide coaching and guidance throughout the writing and budget-development process and will ensure that your submission has been properly documented and vetted by the relevant departments at UCA.

Another great way to start is to serve as a co-pi or an investigator on the grant of an experienced grant writer. Talk to your colleagues and mentors with grant funding about the possibility of joining forces. Even if an opportunity to collaborate does not materialize, these conversations can teach us a lot about which funders are active in our areas of interest.

Dr. Charlotte Parham: In my opinion, the key is writing about something you believe in and developing community partnerships to collaborate and provide support to the writing. Grant writing is about finding funds that support your goals and missions. Make sure you stay true to your goals and surround yourself with partnerships that help you achieve.

Dr. Patty Kohler and Dr. Renee Calhoon: Grant writing, at its best, begins with an identified problem or challenge before it ever emerges to paper. Typically, for the UCA Mashburn Center, we seek to keep our fingers on the pulse of Arkansas educators, their perceived and identified needs, and check those needs with our mission as a Center. We have found that when we align our work with the Center's mission, then the grant applications flow naturally and cohesively. When we have stepped significantly outside what we know and where our expertise lies, we have not generated good results, and we have used precious time dropping into the proverbial rabbit hole. Our best recommendations- pursue from your passions, from your inquisitive mind, and from a deep desire to improve the lives of those who may be affected by the pursuit. One other bit of recommendation...collaborate with like minded and committed individuals who can provide different perspectives and add value to the process. This includes all stakeholders in the sphere of potential influence. Aligning work to your mission plus seeking to serve using evidence-based practices creates a win-win for everyone.

Dr. Louis Nadelson: Read the call for proposals thoroughly and then address the required items explicitly. Assemble a team of colleagues who work well together and get work done. Give yourself plenty of time - writing a winning proposal takes time. Be persistent. Talk to the program officer to pitch your idea and get feedback, and then use the feedback to guide your work.

How can grants expand your funding for research and service?

Joy Ritchey: External funding can elevate research and programs in higher education, allowing UCA faculty and staff to advance their careers, enrich the experiences of their students, and have a greater impact on the community. Particularly in a time of budgetary restraint, grant dollars can have a transformative impact on our work. Faculty from the UCA College of Education are currently leveraging grant dollars to buy time and resources for research, to expand course offerings from the COE, and even to impact the literacy of young children across the county through an affiliation with a national network. They also have a few significant awards pending decisions or in development; I think we will see even more impact on UCA faculty, students, and the community in 2022. None of these things would be possible if a faculty member had not found funding opportunities, often through developing relationships with partners over time, received support from administration, and gone through the proposal submission process in order to receive the funding.

Dr. Charlotte Parham: Grant writing can expand research and service because it provides resources to do the work. There are many funding opportunities for researchers, scholars, and community leaders. Looking for those funding opportunities can provide a platform and dollars to achieve the work.

Dr. Patty Kohler and Dr. Renee Calhoon: Grants provide an arena in which those components of our work can meet, commingle, and grow exponentially. They allow us to embrace what we believe and test it out through hypothesis and implementation. They also allow us to do it under the dome of support through someone else's confidence as expressed through funding. They are filled, typically, with deadlines and benchmarks, yet when the focus is on adding to the body of knowledge and providing service to stakeholders, the timelines and benchmarks serve to keep us on the path for the ultimate aim of the grant...improving the quality of life for others and sharing what we are collectively learning. Grants provide opportunities to have a ripple effect that impacts future funding. One person learns and implements, tells another, and then new opportunities develop and the cycle continues.

Dr. Louis Nadelson: Grant funding can buy your time, pay for data collection, fund travel to conferences, and support presentations. Grant funding can support a graduate research assistant who can help with data collection, data analysis, developing reports, preparing presentations, and presenting findings. Thus, with the funding, it is possible to be more productive and engaged with grant support expanding opportunities for professional involvement.

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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

Callie Cavender:

Callie is a 2020 graduate of UCA's mathematics education program.

Callie shared, "I got married. I work at Sylvan Hills Junior High School within the PCSSD teaching 9th grade Algebra I."

Danielle Crafford:

Danielle Crafford is a 2020 of UCA's Biology & STEMteach programs.

Danielle shared, "I got married on June 4, 2021. I am working on my Master of Public Health through The George Washington University and am currently applying for a position in the PhD program at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. I work at the Arkansas Department of Health as a health program specialist within the Infant Hearing Program. I’m not teaching in the traditional sense, but I do provide health education to many families."

Lakyn Crumbly:

Lakyn Crumbly is a 2018 UCA graduate with a B.S. in Biology/STEM Teach for Secondary Science along with a coaching endorsement.

Lakyn shared, "After my December 2018 graduation, I taught at Cabot Freshmen Academy for the spring semester & then accepted a position to teach and coach in Rogers. I teach Physical Science, Biology, as well as coach girls’ basketball. I am currently at Rogers High School & I LOVE IT. Since my time at UCA, I completed my Masters in Educational Leadership in May 2021 through Grand Canyon University. In my classroom as well as outside of work, I advocate for suicide prevention awareness. As educators, we have the opportunity & responsibility to equip our students with tools to help them navigate the challenging times with a mindset of hope, perseverance, and positivity. We GET to #BeThe1To build courage in the next generation and help them to help others. I don’t believe there is a lesson more important than teaching a young person about their worth, their potential, their impact on others, and the power they have in creating their own legacy. Ms. A, Dr. Buchanan, and my mentor, Margie Towery, prepared me well for the world of education. Because of their direction and because I love what I do, my job feels more like a hobby. That’s a good feeling. Forever thankful for UCA and the people that poured into me during my time there."

Wesley Martsching:

Wesley Martsching is a 2017 graduate of UCA's Mathematics; STEM Education program.

Wesley shared, "Since earning my B.S. in Mathematics with a minor in STEM Education, I have received my Masters in Mathematics Education from UCA. I am currently living in Colorado with my amazing girlfriend (going on 7 years!) where I am enrolled in the University of Northern Colorado's Educational Mathematics Ph.D. program. I have recently passed the last of my comprehensive exams for the program, and now look forward to working on my dissertation. I am excited to say that this semester marks the first time that I've had the opportunity to teach a Mathematics for Elementary Educators course, and am enjoying getting to work with such amazing teachers-to-be."

Kayla Richardson:

Kayla Richardson is a 2019 graduate of UCA's Mathematics STEMteach program.

Kayla shared, "I went to grad school here at UCA and got an MA in Mathematics Education. I am currently working as a Visiting Lecturer at UCA in the Department of Student Transitions."

Faculty/Staff News:

Ashley Cooksey:

Ashley Cooksey, TLC Director and Adjunct Instructor in the department of Leadership Studies, recently had several articles published in Knowledge Quest: Journal of the American Association of School Librarians. Her articles, Health and Healing in the School Library: A Return to Better? and Incorporating Mindfulness in the School Library Three Ways can be viewed by going to

Ashley is a member of the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media and is chair of its leadership development committee and public relations committee. She was awarded the Pat McDonald Outstanding Individual Achievement Award from AAIM in 2019 and the Technology Leader of the Year Award from AAIM in 2021. Ashley was named an AASL Social Media Superstar, Advocacy Ambassador, in 2018. She authored the December 2020 School Library Connection article “Coding through Picture Books.” She is a member of AASL.

Mollie Mae Henager:

Ms. Mollie Mae Henager was recently named the Director of Development for the College of Education.

Mollie Mae earned her Master of Public Service in 2018 from the Clinton School of Public Service. In 2016, Mollie Mae graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish, and she was awarded the President’s Medallion for outstanding student in the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences. Mollie Mae returns to UCA after several years in the international nonprofit sector. Most recently, she worked in development with Arkansas United, an immigrant rights advocacy organization. Prior to that role, Mollie Mae lived in the Sacred Valley of Peru where she worked with Awamaki, a women's empowerment social enterprise. In 2017, Mollie Mae was recognized as a McLarty Scholar and was afforded the opportunity to work with Vital Voices in Washington, D.C. Mollie Mae and her fiancé, Pablo, will wed next year and live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two cats.

Drs Helen Hu, Rachelle Miller, and Donna Wake:

Drs Helen Hu, Rachelle Miller (department of Teaching and Learning), and Donna Wake (department of Teaching and Learning) recently had an article accepted in the Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia. The article is titled, "Online school librarian preparation: Technology acceptance and integration to engage more students." The article explores the level of technology acceptance among librarian candidates enrolled in an online program of study. This comparative mixed-methods study evaluated the effects of supplemental professional development on library candidates' technology skills. Findings indicate candidates improved significantly in technology acceptance as a result of the intervention and applied their new skills by creatively integrating new technologies into practice through collaboration with partner teachers seeking to increase student engagement.

Dr. Bronwyn MacFarlane

Dr. Bronwyn MacFarlane (Associate Professor of School and District Leadership in the department of Leadership Studies) has recently had several publications and accolades.

Bronwyn was nationally-elected as a member for the United States (USA) to the 7-seat international Executive Committee of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC). Bronwyn began her 4-year term on August 8, 2021.


MacFarlane, B. & Henson, S. (2021). Curriculum and creative leadership: An interview with a leading scholar, Dr. Bronwyn MacFarlane. Roeper Review, 43(3), 149-152.


MacFarlane, B. (2021). Essential understandings for delivering advanced social and emotional curriculum. Workshop presented live for the virtual conference of the European Council for High Ability (ECHA), September 1.

MacFarlane, B.; VanTassel-Baska, J.; Roberts, J.; Hertzog, N.; & Clark, T. (2021). Specialized schools for high-ability learners: Delivering advanced educational programs. Symposia panel for the virtual conference of the European Council for High Ability (ECHA), August 31.

MacFarlane, B. (2021). Online professional learning in gifted education and the critical use of engagement and interactive technologies. Session presentation for the virtual conference of the European Council for High Ability (ECHA), September 2.

Guilbault, K. & MacFarlane, B. (2021). Cyberbullying and the gifted: What parents need to know. Session for the biennial conference of the World Council for Gifted Children, virtual conference format during pandemic, August 7.

MacFarlane, B. (2021). Essential understandings for social and emotional curriculum for gifted learners. Session for the biennial conference of the World Council for Gifted Children, virtual conference format during pandemic, August 3.

MacFarlane, B. & Dailey, D. (2021). Teaching science to gifted learners. Session for the biennial conference of the World Council for Gifted Children, virtual conference format during pandemic, August 1.

Dr. Malcolm North:

Dr. Malcolm North (Assistant Professor in the department of Leadership Studies) recently had a paper from his research accepted at an upcoming conference.

Malcolm shared, "Leadership research is replete with studies focused on individuals who lead or manage others, providing us with decades of leader-centric studies. This research focused on the follower and the health of an organization to respect, value, and develop their human resources. I designed, tested, and validated a new scale to measure the health of leadership, ethics, culture and follower development opportunities in organizations. The new instrument can be used in further culture and climate research or for any organization wishing to attract, retain, and take advantage of their human resources. The presentation will be at the International Leader's Association Global Conference."

Dr. Charlotte Parham:

Dr. Charlotte Parham (Assistant Professor in the department of Leadership Studies) recently received UCA's External Funding Impact Award.

A statement from UCA's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs said. "The External Funding Impact Award Committee selected Dr. Charlotte Parham to receive the 2021 External Funding Impact Award. Dr. Parham is the third recipient of the External Funding Impact Award, which was established in November 2018 to recognize a faculty or staff member for excellence in obtaining external funding, to promote a culture of grant writing among faculty and staff, and to encourage grant recipients to track the impact of their grant work on individuals, the university, the community, and their disciplines/fields."

Drs Stefanie R. Sorbet, Patti Kohler-Evans, Renee Calhoon, and Donna Wake:

In partnership with Arch Ford, Drs Stefanie R. Sorbet, Patti Kohler-Evans, Renee Calhoon, and Donna Wake have begun implementation of their administrator's guide entitled Forming the Foundation-Establishing a System of Support for All New Teachers within a pilot school. This year they will pilot this program at S.C. Tucker in Danville, Arkansas. This research project allows these UCA faculty to be available to provide ongoing support, resources, professional development, and assistance in establishing a mentoring program for this principal's 7 novice teachers throughout this academic year.

Dr. Amy Thompson:

Greg Weber (former Director of Development) and Dr. Amy Thompson (Assistant Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) were awarded a $3900 grant for Dyslexia Intervention Training for the MSE in Literacy Program from The Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation invests in literacy programs that help students learn to read through grant funding to support literacy and education initiatives serving individuals of all ages. The grant will fund training and materials for faculty in 3 ADE approved Dyslexia intervention programs resulting in access of additional materials and training to candidates in the MSE in Literacy program.

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