March 2022

JSU - College of Education & Professional Studies Newsletter

Welcome from CEPS Dean - Dr. Kimberly White

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The College of Education and Professional Studies’ (CEPS) mission is focused on preparing professional educators who are equipped to lead in a changing world. This mission complements the Strong Start, Strong Finish (SSSF) education initiative launched by Governor Kay Ivey, to integrate Alabama’s early childhood education, K-12 education, and workforce development efforts into a seamless educational journey for all Alabamians.

The CEPS is expanding its current childcare program to add classrooms for children from birth to pre-k; with the pre-k classrooms being a part of the Alabama first class pre-k program. The childcare curriculum and experiences will ensure children are prepared for an excellent early education experience with advanced knowledge and skills.

In Alabama and beyond, the CEPS is a leader on literacy education and Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) training and is poised to respond just as effectively with new programs, curriculum, and training to meet the demands of the state’s impending Numeracy Act. This preparation ensures our graduates are equipped to provide students with the literacy and numeracy skills necessary to be progressively successful.

The Family and Consumer Science Department actively prepares leaders in child development, dietetics, family and consumer services, fashion merchandising, and hospitality/culinary. Graduates of these career and technical education programs are skillful in helping students connect their interests and aptitudes with academic skills they learn in the classroom and graduate high school prepared to enter postsecondary education or into an in-demand occupation.

Lastly, individuals who complete our advanced degree programs in Counseling, Instructional Leadership, Instructional Technology, or Library Media excel in their roles to promote the improvement of teaching and learning within schools and/or districts.

The CEPS encourages you to engage with us as we continue to lead in innovation and push forward the boundaries of excellence.

Kimberly White

Dean & Professor


Texas Instruments Donation to Understanding Mathematics Matters Workshop

Texas Instruments has made a donation to the Understanding Mathematics Matters (Umm...) program. The donation includes 5 TI Rovers, 5 hubs, and 20 graphing calculators! Umm... is a workshop conducted by Secondary Education faculty member, Dr. Ahmad Alhammouri. This year Dr. Alhammouri has visited several local schools and demonstrated the power of Umm.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT FOR MARCH - Timberly McRae and Sophia Ferguson

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By: Abigail Harrison, News Editor, the Chanticleer

When Timberly McRae and Sophia Ferguson got ready for class on Feb. 16, they did not know they would go to bed having saved someone’s life that day.

McRae and Ferguson, both juniors and early childhood education majors at JSU, said they knew something was wrong when a man came into the room where they were doing a teacher workshop and asked, “Does anyone know CPR?”

The two girls quickly jumped into action to perform life-saving procedures on a maintenance worker who was severely injured after being shocked by an electrical wire while working in Jim Case Stadium.

The girls said they just happened to be at the baseball stadium at the right time on that day because every other classroom was unavailable to host the teacher workshop.“Everything on-campus was full, and we couldn’t have class anywhere else. So, the baseball coach let us have the team meeting room to have the workshop,” McRae said.

McRae, who is a dispatcher at Weaver Police Department, said she was recertified for CPR the week before the incident. According to McRae, she immediately started running toward the victim, with Ferguson following shortly behind her.As soon as they got to the victim, they said another individual had already started doing CPR but could not continue because of his emotional state. McRae said she took over by doing three sets of chest compressions and then checking the man’s pulse while Ferguson continued performing CPR.

“We had to open his airway because of the way his head was laying. That was what made him initially stop breathing,” McRae said.

Ferguson, who is a lifeguard and teaches CPR training classes, said that in the moment, it felt like they were performing the life-saving procedures for a long time. Based on the police report of the incident, Micheal Barton, Chief of Police, estimates the girls performed CPR for eight minutes before first-responders arrived.Ferguson said their professor and a couple of classmates supported them by offering encouraging words while they were saving the worker. She said she stayed calm by playing the song “Staying Alive” in her head.

McRae said all that was going through her head was saving the man.“In the moment, all that’s going through your mind is keeping him alive. That’s all you can do is just try to keep him alive,” McRae said.

According to the girls, they stopped performing CPR and got out of the way when EMS arrived. Then, the girls washed their hands and went back to class like it was any normal day.

However, they knew their lives were changed forever.McRae said the situation changed her perspective on CPR. According to her, she had performed CPR in two other situations, but the victims did not survive.She said she was very discouraged, but her dad, who is a firefighter, comforted her by saying, “The ones you save will outweigh the ones you lose, and you can’t help it.” McRae said she now understands her dad’s words.Ferguson said from this day forward, she will carry with her knowing that she can make a difference, even in just one person’s life.

According to the girls, the victim’s family has reached out to them with words of gratitude. McRae said the maintenance man’s wife has been keeping them updated on his condition.

“His wife reached out to me yesterday and said he had third and fourth degree burns on his hands, so he had a regraft. That was the surgery that was done yesterday,” McRae said. “He’s doing really good. He has no brain damage and no heart damage.”

“He’s gonna live. He’s gonna survive this,” Ferguson said.

The girls stressed the importance of knowing CPR because it may save someone’s life one day. “No one in that building knew except for us, so it’s just like, someone in this building needs to know for if that happened again,” Ferguson said.

According to McRae, because of the incident, their professor told them that next semester, the students in the education program will have the choice to get CPR certified.

Barton commended the girls for their quick and confident reaction and said the medics attributed the worker’s survival to the life-saving procedures they performed.“We [UPD] were on the scene in four minutes, so we were there really quick,” Barton said. “But seconds matter in a situation like that. So, for Timberly and Sofia to be able to step up and bridge that gap, that made the difference between life and death that day.” He also said the girls are a perfect example of what it means to be a Gamecock. “We truly are the Friendliest Campus in the South, so the actions that y’all conveyed was that y’all got down there and got your hands dirty and worked to save his life,” Barton said. “Today he is alive because of your efforts.”

Barton said he plans to formally recognize the girls for saving a life. He said he is working on developing a heroic actions certificate for civilians, and he would like for them to be the first recipients of the certificate. “They didn’t do it because of recognition, they did it because it’s helping someone,” Barton said.

Attempts to reach the other individual who initially performed CPR were unsuccessful.

JSU Distinguished Professors Volunteer Time in Community Garden

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Dr. Joseph Akpan and Dr. Larry Beard

The Community Garden is worked by JSU Distinguished Professors Dr. Joseph Akpan and Dr. Larry Beard. They are the only Jacksonville State University faculty members who have worked the project over the years. The rest are few retired community members. The money to operate the garden comes from the Methodist Church in Jacksonville. Food is distributed by JCOC outreach center community members.

Objectives of the Community Garden:

* To provide fresh food-vegetables, fruit, and herbs to support lower-income residents in Jacksonville community

* To strengthen Jacksonville community local food bank

* To share gardening knowledge with members of Jacksonville community

* To educate community members on how to prepare, grow, and eat healthy food

* To provide a place for social interaction, create an environment that is harmony with nature and community

* To provide friendships and social bonds with Jacksonville community members

* To provide outreach project to new and young farmers in the community

For more information contact Dr. Joseph Akpan ( or Dr. Larry Beard (


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Drs. Diane Best, Stacey Gill, and Kimberly Warfield at International Mentoring Conference

Drs. Warfield, Gill, and Best attended and presented at the International Mentoring Conference held at the University of Florida’s Hilton Conference Center in Gainesville, FL.

The presenters discussed the importance of a university wide mentoring program that would aid in creating impactful mentorship outcomes such as: the foundation & significance of a mentoring program, creating faculty capacity in preparation of tenure, retaining and recruitment of faculty, as well as networking and building relationships among colleagues and the university community.


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Each year JSU hosts the East Central Regional technology fair, which services 5 nearby counties. In non-pandemic years, about 500+ 3rd through 12th grade students come to JSU's campus and are judged in-person on their technology projects in 15 categories ranging from animation to digital game design to robotics to hardware modification. The past two years, the fair has been virtual, so students have pre-filmed or screen-casted their projects and sent them for asynchronous judging via a digital rubric.

Dr. Kelly Paynter and co-chair Dr. Jimmy Barnes coordinate the fair. Their roles include registering students, communicating with school sponsors, recruitment of judges, ordering of medals, notification of winners, processing registration costs, etc. In non-pandemic years they also secure meeting space and wireless access, coordinate with the dining hall for meals, and provide a judges' hospitality lounge. Martha Dingler, Administrative Associate to the CEPS Dean, is very helpful with all this!

This year projects were due on Feb. 20. 200 students submitted 116 individual and group projects! All students who placed either 1st or 2nd in their categories, advance to the virtual state fair, which is April 8, 2022. At the state fair, they will compete against 8 other regions' winners.

Website for the regional fair:

Website for the state fair:


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All graduates from Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 are invited to meet with employers at the JSU Education Fair on April 8 in Leone Cole Auditorium. More than 40 school systems will set up tables in a morning browse session, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and invite candidates back for interviews that afternoon, 1-4 p.m.

Any student needing assistance preparing a professional resume may attend a virtual Resume Writing Bootcamp on March 31 or April 4, 4-5:30 p.m., on Microsoft Teams offered by CEPS Career Services director, Ms. Becca Turner. For more information or to register for these events, graduates and students may contact Ms. Turner at 256-782-5485 or

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