College of Education Newsletter

April 2018

Message from the Dean:

Spring semester is always exciting. Walking across the UCA Campus is a delight. The trees are beautiful, the azaleas are in bloom, and flowers abound. I'm always grateful that we work on such a gorgeous campus. We have accomplished a lot this year. Here is a highlight of just a few things we haven't put in previous newsletters:

  • SR Education Group, an education research publisher founded in 2004, ranked the University of Central Arkansas on both the 2018 Best Online Colleges and the 2018 Most Affordable Online Colleges reports for Teaching. For the 2018 Best Online Colleges ranking, SR Education Group researched and analyzed accredited online schools across the nation. Inclusion on this list shows high academic standards and a commitment to affordability, two key factors important to prospective students. University of Central Arkansas made this ranking at 15th for Master's Degrees in Teaching. The 2018 Most Affordable ranking represents online schools across the nation that are making an effort to provide economical options for students. The College of Education at University of Central Arkansas made this ranking at 22nd for Master's Degrees in Teaching.

  • In September of 2017 the School Counseling program made the College Choice's list for the Best Online Master's in School Counseling.

  • Several of the Interdisciplinary Leadership PhD students presented at the International Leadership Association’s Annual Global Conference in Belgium in October of 2017.

  • UCA Kappa Delta Pi organization won a KDP program award given by the national organization under the communications category. The award was presented at the KDP Convocation in Pittsburgh, PA on October 26-28.

  • Dyslexia Intervention Program: Undergraduate K-6 candidates work with struggling readers as a part of their Internship I field experience. These students are trained in Orton-Gillingham reading instruction, designed to teach the science of reading. Currently, this program is implemented in the Bigelow school district. A research study to determine the effectiveness of the program is in progress. Initial results indicate that the program has been extremely successful and elementary students are making significant improvement in their reading abilities.

  • Serving in the Conway Middle Schools: Undergraduate reading classes are taught at 2 Conway Middle Schools, where UCA students are paired with a struggling reader. Classes are taught in the schools with six weeks of tutoring taking place on the school site. The course covers a wide range of strategies that can be applied to all content areas. This involves close partnerships with instructional facilitators and support from classroom teachers.

  • ESL Collaboration: Middle Level Internship I Required Field Experience at Carl Stuart Middle School. Approximately 15-30 students were identified as needing instructional support with literacy and academic language enrichment/ESL Strategies. This project is supported by a $3,000 gift.

These types of accomplishments do not come without inspirational thinking, a willingness to put words to action, and commitment beyond "just doing a job". I would like to thank our incredible faculty for these, and all of our successes this year. Beyond that, I want to thank them for taking risks and making mistakes too. I love the quote from Neil Gaiman, " make mistakes, because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world." I challenged the faculty in our opening meeting to approach new ideas with "yes.... and". I'm proud to say they have embraced this and the efforts show in our achievements this year. Look for more to come........

Special Education Majors Participate in Individualized Education Programs (IEP) Training:

Mrs. Alicia Brown, Instructor in the Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education (ELSE) department arranged IEP training for ELSE Special Education majors. Dr. Keith Lenz, ELSE Department Chair, stated, "The legal issues associated with ensuring students with special needs get access to appropriate education is probably one of the greatest challenges our graduates will face. To help our students face this challenge, we asked Debbie Van Dyke from Script, LLC to conduct an IEP training for anyone who wanted to attend." Dr. Lenz added, " Mrs. Van Dyke is an excellent speaker and our students walked away with a lot of information that new special education teachers rarely possess as they begin their teaching careers."
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Greenbrier VIP Program Visits the College of Education:

Thank you to the students from Greenbrier Middle School who came to visit us in our Makerspace this week! We had a great time showing you the technology we have in the TLC.

Melissa West, a 7th grade science teacher at GMS and COE graduate, sent us this message afterwards: "I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for pouring into our kids today. Today was a special opportunity to engage in activities that included problem solving, academic enrichment, creativity, and artistry. All of you were a part of today, but special thanks to Dr. Trumble and Dr. Whittingham at UCA for going above and beyond your own professional responsibilities, as usual!"

COE Research Day:

UCA College of Education held a research symposium on April 20 from 1:00-4:00. Students and faculty presented research on a variety of topics including teaching, professional development and coaching, internship, online and blended learning, maker-centered pedagogy with young children and special needs students, teacher cadet programs, service learning, and the development of resources to address grieving students.

Faculty Conference Presentations:

Numerous COE faculty members have presented at conferences over the last several months. Congratulations on a job well done.

Society for Technology in Teacher Education (SITE): Washington, DC

Dr. Jason Trumble

American Educational Research Association (AERA): New York City, NY

Dr. Jason Trumble

Mrs. Michelle Buchanan

Dr. Alicia Cotabish

Dr. Debbie Dailey

Dr. Nykela Jackson

Dr. Rachelle Miller

Dr. Jeff Whittingham

Mrs. Sunny Styles-Foster

Dr. Donna Wake

American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE): Baltimore, MD

Dr. Donna Wake

Association of Teacher Educators (ATE): Las Vegas, NV

Dr. Donna Wake

Dr. Tammy Benson

Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education (AGATE): Rogers, AR

Dr. Nykela Jackson

Arkansas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (ArACTE): Conway, AR

Dr. Charlotte Green

Dr. Nykela Jackson

Dr. Rachelle Miller

Dr. Debbie Dailey

Mrs. Amy Thompson

Dr. Erin Shaw

Dr. Jeff Whittingham

Dr. Nancy Gallavan

Dr. Valerie Couture

Dr. Helen Hu

Dr. Alicia Cotabish

Dr. Jason Trumble

Dr. Jud Copeland

COE End of Year Celebration/Awards Ceremony:

The COE End of Year Celebration was held Thursday, April 19th. Along with celebrating the end of the school year, faculty awards were given for Research, Teaching, and Service. Each winner received a plaque, a pin, and $100.

COE Research Award: Dr. Susan Barclay is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership Studies. She coordinates the College Student Personnel program and is an active teacher and researcher. Dr. Barclay has a talent for devising and implementing research studies and has received national recognition for her research most recently being invited to serve as a permanent faculty member for the CareerConstruction Institute and to lead a 3-day Institute at Kent State University.

Her research focuses on how individuals work through career decision-making processes to find identity, meaning, and purpose in both their careers and their lives. In the last 3 years, she has authored 2 peer reviewed articles, 2 book chapters, and 2 monographs.

COE Teaching Award: Dr. Patty Kohler has been chosen as this year’s faculty recipient for the teaching award. Dr. Kohler has been supporting teachers at UCA since 2004. She is a true “educator” at heart. In her current position, she teaches undergraduate, graduate, and in-service teachers through her work at the UCA Mashburn Center for learning. Prior to her work at UCA, she taught in various Special Education contexts in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Fort Smith, and in Washington State. She is an established expert in coaching and co-teaching and an expert in the Strategic Instructional Model as a certified professional developer and SIM Leader. Dr. Kohler's philosophy of teaching is about “motivation and stimulation of students through the development of innovative teaching methods, courses, or instructional materials.”

COE Service Award: Dr. Jud Copeland has a clear record of service to department, college, university, and the profession. He serves as a member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Leadership Studies. In his work, he chairs the Gladys Sachse Endowed Scholarship Committee and has served as COE Faculty Senator across multiple terms. His professional service includes his work with the American Association of School Librarians, the American Library Association, the Southeastern Library Association, the Arkansas Library Association, the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media, the Arkansas Department of Education. Dr. Copeland is untiring in giving his time to support others.

University Awards: Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

Congratulations to Dr. Donna Wake, Associate Dean for the College of Education! She was recently awarded the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award by the University’s Strategic Planning Committee and the Diversity Advisory Committee. This award recognizes individuals whose commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence on and/or off campus have made a significant impact on various ethnic groups and diverse communities in a positive way. These individuals have improved conditions at UCA and within the community that have enhanced society.

Dr. Wake helps lead the College of Education diversity efforts. For example, last year she worked with the College Diversity and Inclusion committee to develop a core class on Social Justice and Education. She is teaching the class this semester. As part of her class, the students actively talk about and wrestle with ideas on racism, homophobia, ability discrimination, religious tolerance, gender disparity….. The intent of the class is to disrupt schools structures that perpetuate institutional disparity and inequity.

Faculty Acheivements:

Dr. Na Mi Bang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership Studies, recently received the AERA Division E’s Distinguished Research Award at the 2018 AERA conference in New York City.


Dr's. Donna Wake, Rachelle Miller, and Jeff Whittingham recently had the article, Permission to teach: Program evaluation of the A+ schools model published in Pedagogies: An International Journal.


Dr. Nancy P. Gallavan, Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, has served ten years as co-editor of the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) Yearbook of Research. Dr. Gallavan has co-edited seven volumes of the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) Yearbook of Research.

Beginning with their call for submissions in 2008, Dr. Gallavan and Dr. Cheryl E. Craig, University of Houston, co-edited three volumes. From 2012 through 2018, Dr. Gallavan and Dr. LeAnn G. Putney, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, co-edited four volumes. These seven volumes include a total of 112 chapters written by more than 300 authors located across the United States and from many different countries around the world. All ATE Yearbook authors were invited to present their research as part of the ATE Yearbook sessions featured at the ATE annual meetings held each February following publication of the yearbooks. For their dedication to ATE and the ATE Yearbooks, all three co-editors have received ATE Presidential Service Awards.

GRADitude Project: T.K. Gault

Seniors at Conway High School were asked to write letters of “GRADitude” to teachers who had a considerable impact on their lives. The district chose several that were especially powerful and facilitated a surprise visit from the senior to the teacher who impacted his or her life the most. T.K. Gault, Clinical Instructor and Coordinator of Middle and Secondary Field in the Department of Teaching and Learning, was one of those teachers who was honored by one of her former students for making a huge impact. Dressed in her graduation cap and gown, the student read her letter of gratitude to T.K., citing that she “has a true heart for teaching, cares for, and inspires” her students. The student said she hoped to be as selfless and caring as T.K. and that she learned what wisdom and love look like because of the time she spent in T.K.’s class. This special moment was arranged by Heather Kendrick, Communications Specialist for Conway Public School District and the GRADitude Project.


Dr. Terry James began working at UCA in 1991. Over his 26 year career at UCA he has served as a faculty member in the College of Education, the Chair for the Department of Administration and Secondary Education, the Interim Director of Academic Planning and Assessment, the Interim Associate Dean of the Graduate School, and the Chair of the Department of Leadership Studies. He has served as the department chair of Leadership Studies since 2006, helping to build programs, increase enrollment, mentor new faculty members, and support the day to day operations of a complex department. Terry is deeply regarded by his faculty and is known for his mentoring and support for new faculty members. He will be missed by this department and throughout the



Dr. Mara Cawein is a much loved and respected faculty member of the Teaching and Learning Department. Mara has worked as a representative of Kappa Delta Pi as a Counselor of the Pi Beta Chapter, which is an international honor society of educators. Mara is a soft spoken, hard working, compassionate teacher and colleague. Her grace and passion for teaching and the profession are the legacy that she will leave behind. Mara has been in Teaching and Learning for many years and is wished all the best by her co-workers.


Mrs. Ruth Rowell has been a valued member of the Elementary, Literacy, and SPED Department for 21 years. In that time, she has set the educational foundation for hundreds and hundreds of children, has been a mentor to early childhood professionals around the state, and has influenced thousands of UCA students through field

experience. She is a phenomenal teacher, mentor, and friend. It’s not unusual to be talking to someone in the grocery store who recounts a story of how their child was loved and supported by Miss Ruth. The Child Study Center will greatly miss her!