College of Education Newsletter

August 2021

Message from the Dean:

With the start of a new academic year, I'd like to give a shout out to our graduate programs, graduate faculty, and graduate program coordinators. Our graduate program enrollment has seen a significant increase (up 19%) over the past year. This is no small accomplishment. Beyond the robust enrollment, the quality of the programs is outstanding. Looking at our College Student Personnel Administration program it's clear to see that this program values diversity and is preparing the future Student Affairs leaders to tackle the challenges in higher education. We have redesigned several of our master's level programs including the Master's in Literacy (seeking the second round of International Dyslexia Accreditation), the Teacher Leadership program, Gifted and Talented, and the School Leadership, Management, and Administration program. These updates have allowed us to meet high demand areas by providing competent professionals and leaders. Our new programs in ITEC (K-12 Online teaching & Computer Science) and the EdS in Digital Age Teaching and Learning have hit the ground running and are experiencing strong enrollment. Speaking of booming programs, we have 38 students in the redesigned Ph.D. program. The new tracks in interdisciplinary leadership, school leadership, and digital age leadership with a focus on equity have clearly met a need. Adding to our new or newly redesigned programs are our stable, consistent, and high quality programs in Library Media, Master's of Arts in Teaching (our largest graduate program with 206 students and another 25 in MAT special education), School Counseling, and Special Education. These programs have been the backbone of graduate education in the College for years. They have supported professionals in the field and created opportunities for leadership and impact.

You might ask why our graduate programs are so successful. You don't have to look far. Our graduate program coordinators (often under appreciated) lead these programs with passion and dedication. They do the heavy lifting when it comes to program innovation and integrity. Our graduate faculty round out our commitment to excellence through their tireless work to sustain rigor while supporting all graduate students. I'm extremely proud of the work we do in both undergraduate and graduate education. Our programs compliment each other while offering unique opportunities for people across the nation. In fact we can say our PhD program spans the nation as we have a student from California and another one from Maine. We are truly living up to the phrase, "Go here. Go anywhere."


2021-2022 COE Freshman Welcome:

The COE was thrilled to welcome 62 new freshman (elementary, middle, and special education) during welcome week!

2021 Arkansas Association of Instructional Media Conference:

The 2021 Arkansas Association of Instructional Media (AAIM) annual conference took place July 6-8 in Hot Springs, AR. Over 200 AAIM members were in attendance. Dr. Jeff Whittingham (UCA department of Teaching and Learning) was the opening keynote speaker. His session was titled My Life as a Booktalker: Let’s Talk Books. Dr. Whittingham shared memories of how he learned to booktalk and shared many middle level and young adult books through his engaging presentation.

Several UCA faculty and students were honored during the AAIM Awards Luncheon:

Ms. Rachel Shankles (LIBM Practicum Coordinator) was awarded The Pat McDonald Outstanding Individual Achievement Award which is given to an AAIM member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting media programs and practices that have resulted in an improvement of media usage in instruction.

Dr. Erin Shaw, (LIBM and ITEC Program Coordinator) was awarded the AAIM Herb Lawrence Leadership Service Award which is given to honor an AAIM member who has made significant contributions to AAIM and its progress through outstanding service to the Association.

Ms. Ashley Cooksey (TLC Director and ITEC adjunct instructor) and recent ITEC MS graduate Michael Herren were both awarded the AAIM Technology Leader of the Year award which is given to ANY Arkansas educator or technology coordinator who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field of technology through service to students, teachers, and the community in an Arkansas school, a regional service cooperative, an institute of higher learning or at the state level.

Finally, current LIBM student Heather Castaldo was awarded the Heloise Griffon Scholarship, named in honor of the past Director of the Audiovisual Services for the Department of Education.

Arkansas Literacy Association Conference:

The Arkansas Literacy Association (ALA) 49th Annual Conference was held on Zoom in July. Two faculty members from the depart of Elementary, Literacy and Special Education presented at the conference.

Dr. Susan Perry, Assistant Professor, College of Education, University of Central Arkansas

Decodable Books: The Basics

In this presentation, the presenters examined the importance and purpose of using decodable text with struggling readers and explored how teachers can support students by appropriately matching readers with texts and utilizing the “textual scaffolds” found in decodable readers to increase automatic word recognition.

Amy Thompson, Assistant Professor, College of Education, University of Central Arkansas and

Margie Nanak, Pine Bluff Schools

Arkansas Book Awards

In this presentation, these state committee members previewed books for both the Arkansas Diamond and the Charlie May Simon Awards, as well as, discussed voting deadlines.

COE Grab-N-Go Maker Kits:

In lieu of hosting a summer camp, the Technology Learning Center presented Grab-N-Go Maker Kits. Each kit contained all supplies needed to complete the designated activity. These kits were created by TLC Staff (Ms. Ashley Cooksey and Ms. Melissa Earls), Dr. Erin Shaw (department of Leadership Studies), and Dr. Amy Thompson (department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education). 50 kits were distributed to kids in grade levels K-6. The kits also included UCA swag donated by The UCA Bookstore.

Maker kit themes were: Rockets, Solar System, Emotions, Butterfly, and Super Hero Mom.

Parts for the rocket and solar system kits were created using the COE's Glowforge (laser cutter/engraver).

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COE Summer Professional Learning Series:

The COE was proud to present the COE Summer Professional Learning Series. This series was held from June 1st until July 27th, featured 18 different sessions, and had approximately 287 attendees.

PD credit hours approved by DESE/ADE were offered for each session and the sessions were free of charge.

For more information on the sessions that were offered, and to watch session videos, please go to

Student News:

Letia Wyatt:

Letia Wyatt, a 2011 graduate of UCA's College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) program, was recently featured in Only in Arkansas.

Letia has released several children's books and is also a children's book author consultant. To read more about Letia please go to

New Hires in the COE:

Ms. Ann Broyles:

Ms. Ann Broyles was recently hired as an instructor in the department of Leadership Studies. She has been a public school educator for 16 years and has taught ELA, Social Studies, Culinary Arts & Hospitality courses, and EAST. The first 13 years of Ann's teaching career were in East Texas and the last 3 were here in Arkansas.

Ann holds a Masters in Educational Leadership (2009) from LeTourneau University and she just completed a Masters of Science in Instructional Technology from UCA with the added endorsement to her teaching certification in Online Teaching and Learning (May 2021). Her educator certifications include K - 8 all core subjects, ESL, and building-level administrator here in Arkansas & in Texas, as well as being a certified Culinary Arts Instructor in Texas.

Ann stated, "I am excited to now be a full-time faculty member at UCA for the 2021-22 school year. My husband, Gary, works at the UCA Physical Plant, my daughter, Sarah, is a UCA 3rd Year PT student, and my son, Alec, is a UCA senior majoring in Management of Information Systems. We are now a 100% UCA family. Go Bears!"

Dr. Carmita Haynes:

Dr. Carmita Haynes is a clinical instructor in the Department of Teaching & Learning. Prior to assuming this role, Dr. Haynes spent 20+ years in various capacities in education throughout several districts as a classroom teacher, teacher mentor, virtual educator, department chairperson, and Director of Teacher Leadership. She has also presented at the Ready-Reset-Rejuvenate conference hosted by Inspiration Educational Service (IES) on the topic of classroom management. Dr. Haynes holds a Bachelor of Science in Education; a Master of Education in Education Management; an Education Specialist in Administration & Supervision; and a Doctor of Education in Education/Instructional Leadership from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee. Carmita’s passion is to ensure that every teacher is encouraged and empowered to lead an effective classroom that facilitates critical thinking in student learning.

Ms. Jessica Herring Watson:

Ms. Jessica Herring Watson works with K-20 teachers and students in a variety of settings as an instructional designer and teacher educator. For the past three years, she has worked as a clinical instructor in the Department of Teaching & Learning, and she is excited to continue her career as an emerging scholar as an assistant professor in T&L. Jessica earned a Masters in Teacher Leadership and Instructional Facilitation and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Memphis, focusing on Instructional Design and Technology. With over a decade of teaching experience, Jessica focuses her work on cultivating meaningful relationships between technology-enabled learning and engaging pedagogy. As an emerging researcher, her interests include constructivist approaches to technology integration in the learning process, digital equity, and developing innovative practices in teacher preparation. Specifically, her research investigates preservice and inservice teachers' development and persistent use of technology-enabled learning to cultivate more inclusive, creative, and engaging learning environments and to transform educational cultures.

Ms. Catherine Miller:

Ms. Catherine F. Miller is a graduate of UCA with a BSE degree in Middle Level Education (science and mathematics) and a masters degree in Advanced Studies in Teacher Leadership. Prior to joining the UCA faculty, Catherine taught Mathematics in the Little Rock School District. She will be working in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education as a Clinical I Instructor.

Dr. Vincent Price:

Dr. Vincent Price hails from Vicksburg, MS, and brings with him a truck-load of energy, innovation, and reflection. With his English Education background, he has spent years teaching on the high school level and training on the college level. Vincent earned his doctorate in Teacher Education from the University of Tennessee, during which time he began his academic editing business and took up tap dancing. Through his YouTube channel, Dr. Price Teaches, he combines his love of classroom teaching with tap, and creating insightful yet entertaining videos. Vincent's research focuses on the teaching of African-American literature in English classrooms. He looks forward to furthering that research at UCA.

Dr. Wyann Stanton:

Wyann C. Stanton, PhD is a Clinical Reading Instructor at the University of Central Arkansas, Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education. She teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses including reading assessment with intervention and multisensory approaches to language. She also supervises field experiences.

Dr. Stanton has previously served as a PRAXIS III Assessor and a Novice Teacher Mentor Trainer with the Arkansas Department of Education. She is a licensed Reading Specialist and has supported in-service teachers at the elementary and middle school levels as a literacy coach and as a teacher professional learning facilitator. She has taught elementary and middle level students as a classroom teacher and as a dyslexia interventionist. Dr. Stanton’s current research interests include teacher professional learning and elementary teachers with struggling readers.

Faculty News:

Stefanie Sorbet:

Dr. Stefanie Sorbet (Assistant Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) and Dr. Lesley Graybeal (Director of Service-Learning and Volunteerism) recently had an article published in the Journal of Service Learning in Higher Education. To view the article, please go to

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