College of Education Newsletter

April 2021

Message from the Dean:

When I think about the things I like best about UCA and specifically the College of Education, I can't help but dwell on the sense of community. Justin Clarabut commented that "community is, without question, central to the human experience." Having a sense of community that embraces all of the members of a group is a vital element to the health and productivity of that group. We are fortunate enough to be surrounded by people (including our alumni, students, staff, faculty, and administration) who work daily to support one another. When I talk to our students, I often hear them express their gratitude for the welcoming environment that the college offers them. They talk about relationships with their peers and faculty and how much these relationships have shaped their lives in positive ways. Alumni also speak about how they created life long friendships while at UCA. I was talking to an alum yesterday who said she still feels connected to UCA because of the number of teachers she works with who also graduated from UCA. Even if they graduated in different years, they share a common bond and sense of belonging.


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Note of Thanks:

Dean Groves-Scott would like to share an email she received from Ms. Rosalynda Ellis, Principal at Hermitage Elementary School.

I just graduated from the Arkansas Leadership Academy's Master Principal program. We were all together last week and the discussion came up about the quality of UCA's education program! As principals, we love to find someone who has graduated from UCA. Those of us who have been through UCA's programs also spent time discussing the quality of our learning. It is extremely evident our education was better at UCA than some of our colleagues who attended other leadership programs. Thank you for continuing to work so hard for education in Arkansas! I am a proud UCA grad!

Rosalynda Ellis, Principal

Hermitage Elementary School

Global Advising Week:

NACADA's Global Advising Week is May 2-8, 2021! During this week in May, we will celebrate the work of our UCA advisors. Every day we will have something for our advisors to show them we appreciate them and make them feel special.

If you would, we would like for you to write an email to your group of college advisors. We will send them your email on Thursday, May 6. You do not need to write an individual email to each one of your advisors, a group email is what we are wanting. This email will also be posted for the UCA community to see on our Advising Appreciation Page.

ESOL Institute:

The University of Central Arkansas was selected as one of the five universities in the state to provide ESOL institutes in 2021. The College of Education at UCA will provide up to 50 current PK-12 educators professional learning to increase their understanding of English for Speakers of Other Languages and prepare them to be teacher leaders for ESOL. UCA will offer educators 12 hours of graduate credit in the required content areas for the ESL Endorsement and will prepare them to pass the ESL Praxis. For the 2021-22 ESOL Institute year only, participants will also receive a full-tuition scholarship for 12 graduate credit hours.

Acceptance to the 2021-22 ESOL Institutes will be limited. Teachers are urged to apply as early as possible. Criteria for selection will include the need for ESOL services in a teacher’s school district, as well as the need to balance participation by geographic region of the state, district size, number of EL enrollment, and the applicant’s role within the school. In order to qualify for consideration, applicants must be licensed and employed full-time in an Arkansas public or charter school.

The UCA ESOL Institute is a hybrid program consisting of 80 hours of face-to-face or synchronous training, 4 online courses requiring at least 25 additional hours of work per course, 12 graduate credit hours.

The institute will consist of a 6-day summer workshop (virtual synchronous), 4 follow-up academic year workshops (virtual synchronous), and 4 online graduate courses (asynchronous). Those who successfully complete the full program and earn a passing score on Praxis 5362: English to Speakers of Other Languages can receive an ESL Endorsement on their Arkansas Teaching License.


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. Robert Toney:

BSE (1973) State College of Arkansas

MSE (1976) University of Central Arkansas

Ed.S. (1981) University of Arkansas

Ed.D. (1990) University of Houston

Dr. Robert Toney grew up in a traditional family. His dad worked in paper mills and mom was a “stay at home” mom with him and his two sisters. Robert was the middle child. Having lived in 3 different paper mill towns, they moved to Morrilton as he began high school. He graduated from Morrilton High School in 1969.

Robert said, "Following my BSE, I worked in the Conway Public Schools for 10 years, the last seven as principal at Sallie Cone Elementary School. My family, Cathy, (BSE, ’76; MSE ’82 UCA) and two boys Gabe and Matt moved to Houston, TX. For eight years I worked in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD and completed my Ed.D at the University of Houston. For the next 12 years we lived and worked in the schools in Lufkin, Tx. Cathy and I returned to Arkansas in 2003 and moved to back to Conway in 2005. After working in the Morrilton and Mayflower schools, working for a private school improvement company, I completed my career of almost 47 years working at the Arkansas Department of Education for eight years. I fully retired in December 2019."

Distinguished Education Equity Fellow:

Dr. Candice Barnes:

This year has taught us some incredibly important lessons about who we are in the College of Education. It has demonstrated to us that we are uniquely positioned to advance conversations about diversity in all forms and audit our policies and practices through an equity lens. This year, serving as the Distinguished Education Equity Fellow, has afforded me many opportunities to work in collaboration with my fellow colleagues to engage in those conversations and work to advance equity. It is my hope that we will continue to: address issues of equity in our personal, professional, and social spaces and increase our efforts to interrupt, disrupt, dismantle and correct inequities that affect and befall us all. This is our moment to stand up and leverage our positions, power, and privilege to tell a truer—maybe a newer narrative of who we are and who we are becoming. Join me in using the hashtag #centerequity to show your solidarity with us and we persist in our pursuit to make sure equity is central to our work and wisdom.


Apple National College of Education Briefing:

Dr. Vicki Groves-Scott, COE Dean, recently participated in a panel discussion at the Apple National College of Education Briefing. Dr. Groves-Scott (an Apple Distinguished Educator) also received word from Apple they have had requests from Apple Internal to share the panel discussion with their K-12 division of Leadership Executives.
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Student/Alumni News:

Mrs. Kyleigh Thompson:

Kyleigh Thompson, a 2019 graduate of UCA's elementary education program, was in the weekly teacher spotlight at Meadow Park Elementary (MPE) where she teaches 2nd grade.

Ms. McKinley, MPE Principal, said "Mrs. Thompson is MPE's teacher spotlight this week. She is a novice teacher, but her ability to juggle a blended classroom this year gives her an edge on most veteran teachers. She has a sweet spirit and stands ready to help in any way."

Mr. Collins, MPE Assistant Principal, said "Kyleigh Thompson is one of our emerging leaders at MPE. Mrs. Thompson is always willing to take on challenges such as leading a committee, taking on all second grade virtual learning, and now teaching blended. Just being her second year with us, the sky's the limit for Mrs. Thompson."


Dr. Amy Thompson:

Dr. Amy Thompson (Assistant Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) recently had an article published in the Missouri Reader. Her article, Four Things I Wish I Had Known as a Reading Teacher, can be viewed at

Dr. Nancy Gallavan:

Dr. Nancy Gallavan, retired Professor in the department of Teaching & Learning, has been named an Associate Editor of Action in Teacher Education, the journal with the Association of Teacher Educators. (Published electronically four times per year, Action in Teacher Education has a 9% acceptance rate.) Dr. Gallavan said, "I was allowed to join the editorial team from Stephen F. Austin State University (SFASU) in their application for a new team and have been named an Associate Editor for the next three years."

Dr. Deanna Rice:

Dr. Deanna Rice (Assistant Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) has a new blog post at the News 2 You website. Identity: The Foundation of Self-Awareness, can be viewed by going to:


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