College of Education Newsletter

April 2022

Message from the Dean:

Kaufman Hall summed up the current higher education dilemma like this: "Even before the pandemic struck, university enrollment numbers were declining as higher education approaches the 'demographic cliff'—an expected sharp fall-off in enrollments for traditional college-age students beginning in 2025, resulting from a decline in birth rates that began with the financial crisis and recession of 2008."

The pandemic has intensified this decline. Nationwide, the Fall 2020 term was down more than 3%. COVID has also created a situation where some students won't graduate from high school on time and/or won't be prepared for college, causing the cliff to come early. This has held true for UCA and we are going to face some tough decisions.

That being said, UCA is fiscally sound. Our leadership started working to stabilize the budget well before the pandemic, and they continue to make decisions that will see our institution through.

What does this mean for the College of Education? Like any family on a budget, we tighten our belts and we get creative. We stick together and support one another. We might have to raise class sizes, combine sections, eliminate under-enrolled classes, and/or cut back on travel and food. But we will do all of this while continuing to serve our students. We have strong programs and personnel who will carry us through tough times. I want you to know that I promise to do my best to protect our programs, faculty, staff, and students. I'm asking for your help to maintain our positive work environment and personal relationships. I have confidence that although it might get difficult, we will emerge stronger, more innovative, and even more student-centered. Thanks in advance for your patience and kindness.


Arkansas Educator Commitment Signing Day:

On April 16th, the UCA College of Education participated in the Teacher Commitment Signing Day at the capitol. Aspiring, early, and career teachers had the opportunity to sign a Commitment to Education certificate that demonstrates their pledge to the students of Arkansas, the teaching profession, and the future of education in the state (

*Pictured are: Dr. Vicki Groves-Scott (COE Dean), Marquis Williams (COE student),Laney Eldridge (COE student), Payton Barrow (COE student), and Dr. Gary Bunn (Director of Candidate Services).

Educators Rising Conference:

The Educators Rising State Conference was held from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. on Tues., April 5 at UCA. The conference was for high school rising educators interested in pursuing a career in education to connect and learn together.There were 324 rising educators from 25 high schools in attendance and 42 Educators Rising collegiate chapter members (who also served as panelists). There was a mix of presenters from the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Teachers of the Year, Education Co-ops, and other notable educators in K-12 and higher education. Rising educators also participated in a college fair with 20 educator preparation programs.

World Labyrinth Day:

Saturday, May 7, 2022, is World Labyrinth Day, and individuals from all over the world will be walking labyrinths to promote peace. A labyrinth is an ancient archetype with a singular meandering path that leads from an outer edge to a center and returns back to the outer edge. For 4,000 years or more, the labyrinth has been used to incorporate walking, silence, and meditation among other mindful practices. Labyrinths are found in every culture and on nearly every continent. Increasingly, labyrinths can be found on university campuses and can be built from a variety of materials. Because labyrinths can foster a sense of well-being and inner calm, they serve as wonderful tools for finding quiet, peace, and reducing stress.

In Arkansas, there are two labyrinths on university or college campuses, and interestingly, both are in Conway. A description of both labyrinths can be found in the Worldwide Labyrinth Locator ( website as well as the international index of university and college labyrinths. One is found on the Hendrix College campus, and the other is found on the UCA campus. On Friday, May 6, a canvas labyrinth will set up from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in Mashburn 103 and all are invited to come walk for peace.

In the Classroom:

On Friday, March 11, students in Ms. Lisa Herrington's ELSE 3305 (Integrated Child and Young Adult Literature) course, joined her for some fun at Julia Lee Moore Elementary School in Conway for their Reading Day . They read to several classes while there and everyone enjoyed seeing Ms. Herrington dressed up as Pinkalicious!

*See photos below

Big picture

Teacher candidates in Ms. Catherine Miller's (Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) Math and Science strategies classes engaged in dynamic professional development activities from Project WILD (Wildlife in Learning Design). These activities were facilitated by Mrs. Shelia Connerly. Pre-service teachers receive six hours of ADE-approved professional development.

Mrs. Connerly is School Connections Coordinator with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission. In this role, she presents Project WILD Environmental Education Curriculum across the state. She has been with AGFC for 7 years. Before that, she was employed by Conway Public Schools for 19 years as an elementary education teacher. She still holds an active teacher license with the Arkansas Department of Education.

Project WILD is an education program & curriculum rooted in nature that helps educators bring the outdoors to their students. Project WILD is presented through a 6-hour, Arkansas Department of Education-approved credit workshop. Materials are available for teachers of any age group, from kindergarten through 12th grade. Workshop participants learn about the natural world through hands-on experience they can pass on to their students. Workshops and courses cover a variety of subject areas including science, social studies, language arts, mathematics and physical education. #UCAbears #UCAcoe #UCAteacherED #TeachArkansas #eduAR

For more information on Project WILD and Environmental education, please contact Sheila Connerly at

*See photos below from Project WILD visit

Student/Alumni News:

Dr. Sarah Argue:

Dr. Sarah Argue recently completed her dissertation, Empowering Agency Despite Poverty: Education Leadership and Ecosystems of Change, in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership Studies (LEAD) program. Her dissertation included two articles. The first is a conceptual piece that calls for an interdisciplinary model of education leadership using theory from economics, philosophy, management, and leadership studies. The second article is a qualitative case study that examines education leaders’ approach to leadership and how the elements of the interdisciplinary model are (or are not) being used by these leaders. This study found that the education leaders interviewed are using pieces of the model, although usually ad-hoc and not throughout the system. Future work includes advancing the interdisciplinary model with local education leaders to better meet the needs of students throughout Arkansas. You can read Sarah’s dissertation soon via Proquest.

Dr. Argue serves as the Deputy Director of the Arkansas Research Center housed in the COE at UCA. At ARC, Sarah’s primary area of research is early childhood education, although as a former K-12 teacher and Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board member, she brings a long-view to her work.

Nashwa Elkoshairi:

UCA Education Specialist Candidate Nashwa Elkoshairi has recently been voted as South Carolina Connections Academy's Middle School Teacher of the Year.

Nashwa has been a standout student and will graduate in Spring of 2023 with an Education Specialist Degree in Digital Age Teaching and Learning. Throughout her coursework, Nashwa has connected her practice and digital-age learning theories to make a huge impact on her students.

Gabby Luyet:

Gabby Luyet is a current UCA Middle-Level Education Internship II student. Gabby has

flourished at her Greenbrier internship this semester. In her weekly email to her supervisor, Gabby shared details about her good rapport with students and the great partnership she has with her mentor. She also shared the initiative she takes to make sure she is positively impacting her students. Gabby also shared the DIVERSITY door she created for Greenbrier Middle School.

Kimberly “Duke” Raup:

Kimberly "Duke" Raup was recently named an Arkansas Computer Science Teacher of the Year finalist. Ms. Raup has been at Conway High School for 15 years. This is her 4th year being selected as a finalist.

Ms. Raup has three degrees from UCA: a BBA in Marketing ‘97, BSE in Business Marketing Education ‘04, and MS in Instructional Education ’11. She is in the process of applying for the Ed.S in Digital Age Technology & Learning. Ms. Raup shared, "In 2006, I started teaching programming as part of the business department. Since then, the program has expanded to the point that I teach computer science full time. I also sponsor our Robotics and Coding teams and am the E-sports Coach. I’ve been on multiple standards committees and have worked with the state as a part-time Computer Science Specialist during the summers helping teach teachers how to teach programming. Just this year I was hired as an adjunct professor to teach two new courses at UCA in the Leadership Studies department."

Faculty/Staff News:

Ashley Cooksey:

Ashley Cooksey, Technology Learning Center (TLC) Director, was recently name the Herb Lawrence Leadership Service Award winner by AAIM (Arkansas Association of Instructional Media). According the AAIM website, the Herb Lawrence Leadership Service Award may be given to honor an AAIM member who has made significant contributions to AAIM and its progress through outstanding service to the association.

Ms. Cooksey was honored on April 25 during AAIM's Annual Conference.

Dr. Harold Dean Love:

Dr. Harold Dean Love, professor emeritus of the College of Education at the University of Central Arkansas, died April 7, 2022 at age 90. In 1952 he entered the US Navy where he served on the USS Missouri for two years and spent one tour of duty in Korea. After naval duty he attended the University of Southern Mississippi, where His first college job was in Special Education at Nicholls State in Thibodaux, Louisiana, where he was an assistant professor and served one year as chairman of the department. In 1961 he entered the University of Northern Colorado to pursue a doctorate in Special Education, which he received May, 1963. In June of 1963, Dr. Love, wife Sue and son Hal moved to Conway where he became assistant professor of Education and Psychology at then Arkansas State Teachers College (UCA). In 1965 he was appointed chairman of the newly established Department of Special Education. He was also instrumental in the development of programs leading to the establishment of the Department of Speech and Language Pathology. Love was chairman of Special Education for 18 years until 1983 and he continued to serve the department as a tenured professor until his retirement in May 1998. During his tenure at UCA, he authored 29 textbooks, more than 20 journal articles and one reading test. He had seven poems published in magazines and books. In addition to his scholarly activities, he was active in grant writing that resulted in the acquisition of four major grants leading to the training of teachers in Arkansas. "Many Arkansas teachers and administrators owe their professional development to the vision of Dr. Love." The faculty wrote upon his retirement.

Love was also active in service to the university and the community. He was president of United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas and the Arkansas Federation of the Council for Exceptional Children, taskforce chairman of the committee for the Arkansas White House conference and served as a consultant and vocational expert for the U.S. Department of Labor, Railroad Retirement System, Social Security System and the NDEA Institute on Disadvantaged Youth. He received awards and honors from Bumper's Committee on Mental Retardation, Rockefeller's Commission on Mental Retardation and the Governor's Committee on Related Health Services. UCA awarded him the President's Achievement Award and the President's Service Award, and the University of Northern Colorado awarded him a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1998. Contributions may be made to the Harold and Sue Love Scholarship Fund at the UCA Foundation.

*Above obituary from Roller-McNutt Funeral Home (

Dr. Amy Thompson & Dr. Susan Perry:

Dr. Amy Thompson and Dr. Susan Perry (Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education) have been awarded a $3,000 UCA Foundation grant. Faculty in Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education are initiating a series of webinars which will engage parents/caregivers of dyslexic K-12 students in constructively advocating for their children as they begin school and/or is initially or later identified to receive services through Responsive to Intervention, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The series will be a 12-session webinar series to include national speakers Dr. Peg Dawson, Nancy Young, and Dr. Kelli Sandman-Hurley in addition to ELSE faculty and students. UCA ELSE faculty and graduate students will then continue working with parents in an additional four-week book study on Executive Functions.

As no other institution in the state is providing such an extensive and wide-reaching in-service directly geared for parents of children with dyslexia, this project will be unprecedented in “promoting outreach activities, community education, and partnerships with surrounding entities” (UCA’s Core Values of Community Partnerships) and working towards UCA’s mission of students, faculty, and staff partner[ing] to create strong engagement with the local, national, and global communities” (UCA mission statement).

Tech Bytes:

COE Summer Professional Learning Series:

Registration is now open for our UCA COE 2022 Summer Professional Learning Series.

Go to to register for sessions TODAY! #UCAbears #UCAcoe #UCAteacherED #eduAR #teachAR #TeachArkansas

Note: you will receive an email confirmation and link to the session. Please save this information!


COE Byte-Sized Tech:

The UCA COE Technology Committee is charged with sharing information and tips regarding the use of technology in the classroom. Please join us this spring for self-selected byte-sized professional learning opportunities. Each session's topic has carefully been chosen based on responses from the January survey that was completed during our professional development day.

The full schedule can be found at Once a a session has been held, you can revisit the schedule page to view a slide deck or video of the session.

COE Newsletter Archive:

Missed an issue? You can view past issues of the COE Newsletter by going to