College of Education Newsletter

January 2023

Message from the Dean:

For those of us in higher education and K-12 education, we are returning to work after a winter break. One of the things I look forward to doing while on break is cooking (and eating). I find my holiday celebrations revolve around foods from my childhood. My mother made fudge, brought out the jars of homemade pickles and jams, and often had hot chocolate on the stove. We always started the new year with black-eyed peas. Most cultures have traditional foods associated with events and holidays. Those traditions can serve as a source of comfort. I only have a few memories of my Grandma Chapman, but those include her in an apron covered with flour and specks of whatever she was cooking. I associate her with gooseberry pie.

As we enter the dreary months, with chilly weather and foggy days it's nice to indulge in foods that raise our spirits. A nice "cuppa" tea or coffee can help start your day off right and bring warmth to your day. On that note, I want to share the recipe for my Aunt June's Sour Cream Coffee Cake. This is one of the things I look forward to in the winter. It fills the house with the smell of cinnamon and the promise of love baked into something sweet.

Cinnamon-Pecan Swirl Filling:

  • Preheat oven to 325*
  • Toast 1 cup of pecan pieces on baking sheet until golden brown (10-15 minutes)
  • Let cool
  • In a bowl mix pecans, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon

Cake Batter

  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (8 oz) container full fat sour cream
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs. At a low speed mix in sour cream and vanilla. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture into the mixing bowl. Scoop 1/3 of the batter mixture into a bundt pan, sprinkle 1/2 of the filling on top of the batter, cover with another 1/3 of the batter, sprinkle the rest of the filling on the batter and cover with the remaining cake batter. Bake at 350* for 45-50 minutes. Insert a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes and REMOVE it from the pan. (sometimes the filling sticks and it's hard to get out). We like to wrap our cake in aluminum foil and let it cool completely in the fridge overnight before cutting it.


Department of Student Transitions:

Beginning with the Fall 2023 semester, the Department of Student Transitions (DST) is now part of the College of Education.

The Department of Student Transitions, formerly University College, was created to assist students in making a successful transition into college life by providing them with intentional support that helps them develop academic and personal confidence.

The DST offers two different types of courses. The Academic Success and Personal Development Courses (ACAD) are designed to help equip our students with the tools necessary to achieve their academic and personal goals. Courses with the ACAD course prefix are credit-bearing courses that can be applied to a degree. In 2020, Dr. Amy Baldwin, our ACAD Coordinator, published an OpenStax book, College Success, to be used in our Journeys to Success courses. It has since been adopted by over 500 institutions and high schools. The Transitional Courses (UNIV) that are designed to help students transition to college-level work with appropriate support. Students enroll in a transitional course that is paired with a credit-bearing Math or General Education course. The transitional course provides “just in time” support to help students succeed in the credit bearing course.

Historically, DST faculty have been leaders in the state when it comes to the courses and support we provide our students and have remained committed to continuing their efforts to be innovative. In 2014, after years of offering stand-alone developmental math courses, the DST started the process of piloting, refining, and expanding co-requisite courses that paired a transitional math class with a college-level math class. The results were a stunning success and garnered national attention. In 2018, the University of Texas at Austin’s Charles A. Dana Center profiled UCA’s corequisite developmental math successes in their publication Notes from the Field (No. 4, 2018). In their article “Scaling Co-Requisite Supports at the University of Central Arkansas: Perspective from a Four-Year Higher Education Institution,” they described the challenges, solutions, and results of the department’s corequisite Foundations of College Algebra and Foundations of Quantitative Literacy. In particular, they highlighted the department’s success rates by ACT mathematics subscores. Students who earned an ACT subscore of 16, for example, had a 90% completion rate in Foundations of College Algebra. DST Math Faculty Leslie Gomes, Keith Pachlhofer, and Dru Sanders have consulted with numerous in-state and out of state institutions regarding the program. In 2019, they developed and delivered a three-part webinar for all community colleges in Louisiana.

In 2018, Keith Pachlhofer, with the help of all our faculty, organized the first ever statewide Corequisite Institute. This two-day conference, hosted at UCA, featured Dr. Tristan Denley, CAO and Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for the University of Georgia system, as the keynote speaker. The institute provided opportunities for math, writing, and literacy faculty from across the state to learn how to implement a successful corequisite program, the challenges that come with implementation, how to gain buy-in and support for the program, and how to assess the program for continuous improvement. Evaluations from attendees at the institute were highly favorable.

In 2021, our corequisite model for writing was highlighted in Paul Tough’s book The Inequality Machine: How College Divides Us (Mariner, 2021). Tough visited our campus, observed Becky Bogoslavsky’s Foundations of College Writing class and interviewed several students and DST writing/literacy faculty. In his book, he highlighted his observations from the experience.

You can view the DST webpage at

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In the Classroom:

Changing Earth: Teacher Candidates in Ms. Catherine Miller’s (Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) Science Concepts class investigate the natural processes that shape our Earth!

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Students in Dr. Michelle Buchanan's (Department of Teaching and Learning) STEM 1100 class practiced communicating in creative ways. They had to work together to build the tallest freestanding structure (with only spaghetti and 1 meter of tape) to support 1 marshmallow.
Teacher Candidates in Ms. Catherine Miller’s (Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) Science Concepts class combine their study of genetics and robotics to design a Jitterbug Family.

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Teacher Jackie Scott from Horace Mann Magnet Middle School met with Dr. Michelle Buchanan's (Department of Teaching and Learning) middle-level science teacher candidates. Ms. Scott showed them around the gardens and talked about grant writing to fund science projects.

COE Recruiting:

Drs. Erin Shaw and Nathan White (Department of Leadership Studies) attended the Arkansas Education Association (AEA) Conference in Little Rock on November 4. They shared information about the College of Education's advanced program opportunities.

You can find information about our advanced programs at

Student/Alumni News:

Brooke Harris:

Brooke Harris was named the Virtual Arkansas Teacher of the Month for November 2022.

She is a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at UCA. This is Brooke's second year with Virtual Arkansas and she is the Physical Science teacher for their Off-Campus Fully Online (OCFO) students.

When asked why she became a teacher, Brooke said, "I love helping others learn to love learning. The universe around us is full of so many interesting and wonderful things and believe that everyone should be driven to be curious and ask questions. The teachers who were passionate about learning are the ones who have shaped me into the person I am today. Before becoming a teacher I worked in a neuroscience lab and the most exciting moments for me weren't when we made a breakthrough or had a significant finding, instead they were when I was able to see others become passionate about the research. As a teacher, I have the privilege of working with so many students who will become the next generation of scientists and researchers."

When asked the best best part of being a teacher, Brooke stated, "One of the best parts about being a teacher is watching students become empowered and taking ownership of their learning. I love when students are able to make connections to their own lived experiences and when they ask questions that go beyond what they need to understand for the exam."

Asked if she has any advice for students, Brooke shared, "Don't give up. Struggling isn't failure, it is just a part of the growing process. You are capable of achieving your goals, even when it takes you a few attempts. Just keep pushing forward."

Faculty/Staff News:

Dr. Michelle Buchanan:

Dr. Michelle Buchanan (Department of Teaching and Learning) was recently awarded the Lucile Cornetet Individual Professional Development Award (CIPD) by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International (DKG). The award is given out by DKG in recognition and support of the professional development of outstanding women in education ( Dr. Buchanan is a member of Conway's Theta Chapter of DKG.

According to the Log Cabin Democrat, Dr. Buchanan will use the funds from this award to attend the 2023 Council of Exceptional Children’s Convention and Expo in Louisville, Kentucky in March. She will also be a speaker at the conference where she will discuss strategies to engage teachers of Gifted and Talented students in problem-based learning and project-based learning to encourage inquiry-based learning in all subject areas and in all grade levels (

Dr. Allison Freed:

Dr. Allison Freed, Department of Leadership Studies, recently traveled to Northern Ireland and Stranmillis University College to collaborate with teacher education faculty and cultivate a partnership between UCA and teacher educators in Belfast.

African American Open Mic Read-In:

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Tech Bytes:

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