College of Education Newsletter

March 2019

Message from the Dean:

It looks like our winter weather might have passed. With the passing of winter comes "false spring", "a second Arkansas winter for 2 days", and finally spring. Every spring I'm reminded of a poem that my mother would often recite in the "second Arkansas winter". I hope you enjoy A.E. Houseman's Loveliest of Trees.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

I'm not sure there is any campus more beautiful than UCA in the spring. The whole campus comes alive with the scent and color of flowers and greenery. Spring is the time to renew our excitement and zest for life, teaching, scholarship, service. I hope you can take some time to walk across campus and admire the beautiful sights, sounds, and smell of spring.


UCA Day of Giving:

We did it! We reached our goal!

Phyllis (BA-’67) and Ray (BS-’66, MSE-’69) Simon of Conway were the Challenge Donors for the College of Education’s Day of Giving. The Simons have pledged $1,000 and challenge other COE graduates and friends to help the College meet its goals of: (1) 100% participation by COE faculty & staff, (2) 100 gifts, and (3) $2,500 raised!

Thank you to all who helped make the 2019 Day of Giving a success for the College of Education. Your gifts will be used to help prepare the next generation of Arkansas teachers.

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Best Online Masters, Reading and Literacy:

The MSE in Reading program was recently named one of the Best Online Masters in Reading and Literacy for 2019 by

To read their press release please visit

Dr. Janet Filer named Chair of the Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education:

The UCA College of Education Dean, Dr. Vicki Groves-Scott, recently named Dr. Janet Filer as the new chair of the Department of Elementary Literacy, and Special Education.

Janet was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She completed her bachelor’s degree at St. Joseph’s University and continued her education at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in developmental psychology, and her doctorate in special education at the University of Maryland.

Janet joined the University of Central Arkansas as the director of the Early Childhood Special Education graduate program in 1996. Her research interests include families with children who have disabilities and transdisciplinary training/interprofessional training.

Janet married Brian Russell and they have one daughter, Maggie. Family is important to Janet and Brian and both fully support Maggie’s karate endeavors. Maggie is currently a 3rd degree blackbelt. In addition, they are devoted to their 4-legged children, Macey and Lance.

Janet is excited at embarking on her new adventure as chair of ELSE and “hopes to be an excellent steward to the faculty, staff, and students in the department and the college."

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Alumni: Paris Broyles

"When God has a purpose and a plan for your life, no matter the obstacles, you will always win." Paris Broyles, 2009 MAT graduate, has done just that. She was recently featured in an article for the Log Cabin Democrat for work she is doing in her classroom.

Paris is a 4 and 5-year-old teacher at Sallie Cone Preschool in Conway. As part of Black History Month and dress-up day, her students were recently decked out in costumes to show what they want to be when they grow up. Paris said this was a way to get her students to start thinking about their aspirations, pulled from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” speech.

Paris started at Sallie Cone three years ago and wanted to find ways to expose her students to different cultures, heritages, customs, lifestyles, etc. She chose Black History Month as her first initiative. In 2017, she brought local sculptor, Bryan Massey, to talk with her students about his dream to be an artist. She has since welcomed African-American fraternity and sorority members, musicians, and exercise gurus. Sallie Cone classes also took on a poster project in 2018 that had each room choosing, researching, and creating a poster based on an African American individual throughout history.

When asked about her time in the MAT program at UCA, Paris said, "I remember like it was yesterday, when I went in to see Dr. Benson because one of my closest friends said she was going back to school to get her Masters. Her name is Devera Daniels. I remember my exact words to her when she told me that. I said, you're not leaving me!" You see, we were both Pre-k assistant teachers in Little Rock School District and wanted to complete our goals of becoming certified teachers. In 2007 as I left Dr. Benson's office she explained to me that the financial aid office closes in 7 minutes and i needed to get there before the doors lock in order to begin my journey with a purpose. So I did what any determined and driven person would do. I took off my heels, rolled up my slacks, and ran all the way to the financial aid office, asking people on the way, is this the right way to the F.A. building? In December 2009, I completed my Masters degree with a 3.5 GPA. When God has a purpose and a plan for your life, no matter the obstacles, you will always win." Paris continued, "During my time at UCA, I met a diverse amount of teachers and we are still friends today. Were there tough days and times, of course, but it only made me stronger. I had 2 toddlers home with me for the first year. My son Benjamin was 2 when I started, my daughter Charity was 3 1/2 and our oldest daughter was 8. During my second year, I was employed with North Little Rock School District, where I taught 1st grade and Kindergarten. My professors were understanding and accommodating. I remember when I was in my Diversity class taught by Dr. Lisa Daniels, I was not feeling well and I lost all my work on the computer. I felt like giving up but she worked with me and helped me redo my topic and gather info. I will never forget that!"

Since completing the MAT program, Paris has gone on to obtain her ESL endorsement. Paris said, "Thank you UCA and the MAT program for allowing me to complete my journey with a purpose."

Please visit to read Paris' story in the Log Cabin Democrat.

Faculty Achievements:

Mrs. Michelle Buchanan:

Michelle Buchanan, STEMteach Master Teacher, has recently completed all requirements to become a Strategic Instruction Model Pre-Service Professional Developer. SIM is a research validated model of interventions that target middle, secondary, and older students. After completing a rigorous two year process, Michelle is certified to teach her undergraduate and graduate candidates the Content Enhancement Routines, instructional methods using powerful teaching devices to organize and present curriculum content in an understandable and easy-to-learn manner. She is the very first UCA faculty member outside the UCA Mashburn Center for Learning to complete this certification. This certification adds to Michelle's growing list of high quality professional practices.

COE Newsletter Archives:

You can now visit to view past issues of the COE Newsletter.

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