College of Education Newsletter

October 2021

Message from the Dean:

October has been an unusually exciting month in the College of Education. CAEP announced that UCA was recognized as a recipient of the 2021 Frank Murray Continuous Improvement Leadership award. We were selected for recognition for our commitment to equity and purposeful use of assessment to assure program quality to strengthen P-12 learning. We were also awarded the Apple Distinguished School designation for another three years. Apple Distinguished Schools are considered to be among the most innovative schools in the world for the way they inspire creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking among students. Finally, we were awarded a grant from ForwARd Arkansas to participate in a teacher education design collaborative. We will spend the next year, planning a new track to our undergraduate teacher education programs that have a paid year long teacher residency for the internship experience. This grant will allow us to bring our school partners together with faculty as we plan the best way to implement a residency consistent with the new initiative announced by the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Arkansas Teacher Residency Model was just approved to begin fall 2022. This will be an exciting process and the money will allow us to bring our stakeholders to campus for planning.

Once again, the College of Education is leading the way!!! Your hard work, leadership, and commitment to excellence is what allows us to Dream Big and Do Big Things!

-Vicki Groves-Scott

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs FY2021 Report:

The College of Education has some amazing grant writers. These faculty help support our students, our programs, and our outreach through their grant efforts.
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CAEP 2021 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement:

UCA was recently announced as a recipient of the 2021 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement. According to The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), "26 providers from 17 states and the United Arab Emirates received recognition for their leadership and commitment to continuous improvement. The recipients of the 2021 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement provided evidence and data trends to achieve accreditation with no stipulations or areas for improvement."

A CAEP press release stated, "Recipients of the 2021 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement are selected from the educator preparation providers (EPPs) that were granted accreditation by CAEP at the initial level from the previous year, who provided a full complement of evidence with demonstrated data trends and no plans. Recipients had no stipulations or areas for improvement. Providers selected for recognition advance equity and excellence in educator preparation through purposeful use of self-study procedures and evidence-based reporting that assure quality and support continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 learning."

2021 UCA Majors Fair:

The 2021 UCA Majors Fair was held on October 8, 2021, with approximately 800 attendees. According to the UCA Advising Center webpage, "The annual Majors Fair is designed to showcase UCA’s various majors, programs, achievements, and other highlights."

The Advising Center also holds a contest (for a years worth of bragging rights) for the best college display. This year, the College of Education won 2nd place!

LeighAnn DenHartog, Director of Academic Advising, would like to extend her thanks for all the hard work in making this another successful event.

Educators Rising Virtual Conference:

The Educators Rising Virtual Conference will be held on Thurs., Nov. 18, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (via Zoom). This event is designed to encourage and support high school students who are interested in a career in education. The conference and competitions are ideal for students who are enrolled in CTE Pre-Educator programs of study; however, registration is open to any interested student.

Please contact Dr. Nykela Jackson ( with any questions. We look forward to your presence and the participation of your students.

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Educators Rising:

The College of Education is pleased to announce that we have an official student organization: Educators Rising. Educators Rising recently hosted their first Collegiate Meeting. During the meeting, students elected officers and brainstormed ideas for the organization. Members include students from all certification areas: Elementary, Special Education, Secondary, and Middle Level.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 5:30 pm.

In the Classroom:

In Dr. Stefanie Sorbet's class, ELSE 4309, students have been facilitating peer rehearsals of morning meetings in an effort to increase proficiency in social-emotional learning and gain experience prior to facilitating a morning meeting in their own field placement in the upcoming weeks. Sade Wilson and Franchesca Mormon recently presented their morning meeting. Their social-emotional goal ( was responsible decision-making. Below are pictures of the greeting in which they had to create a spider's web with each other as they offered a warm greeting. The greeting is one of four parts of the morning meeting which include greeting, sharing, activity and news, and announcements. Educators across many grade levels use morning meetings as a way to build community within the classroom while also intrinsically motivating students to engage and participate in their own learning experiences.

Where Are They Now:

The COE Newsletter encourages you to share UCA COE alumni stories. "Where Are They Now" articles will highlight our alumni and their impact. Please share your story by going to

Emily Bailey:

Emily Bailey is a 2017 UCA graduate with a B.S. in Chemistry, B.A. in Spanish, and a STEM minor.

She is a chemistry teacher and science department chair at Conway High School.

Ciera Newsome:

Ciera Newsome is a 2019 graduate of UCA's secondary Math education program.

Ciera shared, "After graduating from UCA in December of 2019, I accepted a Secondary Mathematics teaching position at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, and I LOVE IT. I'm now in my second year there, and I have accepted a position as the AVID Coordinator and AVID Elective Teacher for the high school. I can't say enough how much I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my job and the people that I get to work with every day (students, coworkers, administrators, etc). I still have a lot to learn, but one thing I know for sure is that I'm exactly where I'm meant to be, and doing exactly what I'm meant to do, and I thank God for it every day! As I often say, I feel like I'm getting paid to have fun every day. And I always make sure to give UCA and the Norbert O. Schedler Honors College a shoutout whenever I can -- GO BEARS!"

Cortney Stanton:

Cortney Stanton is a 2020 graduate of UCA's Elementary Education program.

Cortney shared, "I have moved to St.Louis and I am a first grade teacher. This is my second year as a first grade teacher and I am loving it. I was also chosen to be on the Instructional Leadership Team for my distinct. We are in charge of presenting monthly Professional Developments for our school and putting together the taxonomy for our district. I am very proud that I received a teacher of the month award from the EL Curriculum that is nation wide. I also volunteer with my church."

Taylor Tarbutton:

Taylor Tarbutton is a 2016 UCA graduate with a degree in Biology with a STEMteach minor.

He is in his sixth year of teaching and is currently at Fayetteville High School in Fayetteville, AR. Taylor said, "This year, I am teaching Honors Chemistry and AP Chemistry. I am currently pursuing my EdD in Leadership and Innovation from Arizona State University."

Chris Wilcox:

Chris Wilcox is a 2019 graduate of UCA's STEMteach program.

He is currently a science teacher and baseball/cross country coach at Bigelow High School.

Faculty/Staff News:

Dr. Keith Lenz:

Dr. Keith Lenz (Associate Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) recently received the final National Center for Intensive Intervention (NCII) review for his research publication that was conducted over the summer. Dr. Lenz shared, "The panel reviewed the study as published and created interim review ratings. They submitted questions and comments to me about the study, I then responded to those. Based on my response, they reviewed the study again and created a set of final ratings. The set of ratings were the highest ratings possible across all review categories. The Word Identification Strategy is in its 19th printing and has revised three times since it was first published in 1984. This intervention is part of the Xtreme Reading Program used in adolescent literacy classes across the United States and has received positive reviews from the IES What Works ClearingHouse."

Dr. Louis Nadelson:

Dr. Louis Nadelson (Chair of the department of Leadership Studies) recently had a manuscript accepted for publication in the Journal of Chemical Education as part of its special issue on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect in Chemistry Education Research and Practice.

Dr. Charlotte Parham:

Dr. Charlotte Parham has been named the the featured lecturer for the 2021 “Hybrid” Forrest Rozzell Lecture at the 2021 AEA Professional Development Conference. The lecture will be held both virtually and in person at the Ron Robinson Theater Thursday, November 4th at 7 PM.

Below is more information on the lecture as provided by

A Revisit to W.E.B. Dubois Truth, Knowledge, and Sympathy in Public Schools

Brown vs. The Board of Education was the historic Supreme Court ruling that made racially segregated schools illegal. Desegregation was an important and necessary time in American history, but it was difficult for all involved. White teachers were unprepared to deal with teaching children who were deemed inferior. Black families were hesitant to entrust their child’s education to an unwelcoming environment. These issues of the 1950s strangely find themselves as relevant discussions in 2021.

For school systems to provide safe, rigorous, and optimal environments where all students can succeed, there was, and still is, a need to address the school systems’ social systems. This system involves the human mindset and perspective of both teachers and families. The sociologist W.E. B. DuBois (1935) recognized the complexity of desegregation, positing that effective changes to the social systems must involve three critical components: truth, knowledge, and sympathy. This lecture revisits Dubois' essential elements of truth, knowledge, and sympathy, and, discusses how those components can provide a foundation for equitable education systems.

For more than 20 years, Charlotte R. Green Parham has been an educator in the Arkansas community. Dr. Parham served as an elementary teacher, gifted specialist, principal, and district administrator. She is a national consultant and author who currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Central Arkansas. Her research focuses are systems of equity, academic achievement gaps, school readiness, and disruptive innovation.

Dr. Parham is the executive director for Arkansas Imagination Library, the state’s affiliate for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library book gifting program. She is also the founder and CEO of Strategic Inc., a consulting firm that partners with schools and various organizations to support areas of equity and literacy.

Dr. Amy Thompson:

A multidisciplinary team of Dr. Sun Thao (Associate Professor in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders) and Dr. Amy Thompson (Assistant Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) presented a lecture on digital literacy at the annual conference of the Arkansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ArkSHA).

Thao., S., Thompson, A., & , Gleghorn, A. (2021) Exploring digital literacy for students with reading disabilities. An accepted presentation for the Arkansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association Annual Convention. Little Rock, AR.

Abstract: Digital learning environments are now commonplace in schools and universities. Technological advancements mandate that virtually all students engage in learning on the Internet. To understand how reading ability affects online research and learning, we compared students with reading deficits (RD) to their peers with typical reading skills on four online research tasks. Students with RD performed similar to their peers when they were asked to simply list facts, however, students with RD performed lower than their peers on tasks requiring deeper learning (i.e., analytic and procedural tasks). The implementation of instructional strategies for improving online research and learning for students with RD will be addressed.

Drs. Jeff Whittingham, Erin Shaw, Kevin Powell, and Amy Thompson:

Dr. Jeff Whittingham (Professor in the department of Teaching and Learning), Dr. Erin Shaw (Assistant Professor in the department of Leadership Studies), Dr. Kevin Powell (Assistant Professor in the department of Leadership Studies), and Dr. Amy Thompson (Assistant Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) presented virtually at the Arkansas Library Association Conference. Their presentation is titled: Under the Sea: A Virtual Book Club with Books Connected to Sea Life.

COE Newsletter Archive:

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