College of Education Newsletter

November 2020

Message from the Dean:

This semester, I've had the privilege of teaching a class of 14 amazing undergraduate elementary and special education majors in ELSE 3308. Although I've worked extensively with the College Ambassadors, I haven't taught a class for a while. Although this is definitely an added responsibility, I must admit that teaching this class is sometimes the one thing I look forward to each week. The students are engaged, funny, passionate, and bright. I've pushed them to think about educational equity and inclusion and they have responded with incredible insight and openness. Every class discussion reminds me of the love I had (still have) for K-12 teaching and the hope I have for the future of education. If these young people (along with the other COE students) hold the future in their hands, we are in a good place. Here's to our students, undergraduate and graduate. Your work is preparing them to lead the way.

Vicki -

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Comment from the Provost:

The most recent issue of the COE newsletter is outstanding, and I know it doesn't begin to capture all of the things going on in, and out of, the classroom. My sincere congratulations to the impressive, engaged, and connected faculty, staff, students and alumni of the COE! Thank you for making sure I'm on the distribution list. The newsletter brightened this rainy October day.



Patricia S. Poulter, EdD

Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs

MSERA 2020:

The Mid-South Educational Research Association (MSERA) had its first-ever virtual conference on October 28-29 and the leadership team diligently worked to ensure that it was high-quality, engaging, and enjoyable. This year’s theme was 20/20 Vision for Educational Research. There was a huge COE faculty presence throughout the conference, and they were involved in the following areas: leadership team, keynote speaker, mentors, professional development, and presenters. The following COE faculty were part of the leadership team: Rachelle Miller (President), Michael Mills (Program Chair), Nykela Jackson (Arkansas Director), and Stefanie Sorbet (Membership Committee Chair). Candice Barnes provided a dynamic keynote session titled, “Research Through the Lens of Equity,” that generated much engaging conversation. Rachelle Miller and Nykela Jackson mentored graduate students and new professional members during the MSERA Mentor Session. COE faculty were also involved in another ‘first’ for MSERA by offering MSERA’s first-ever post conference workshop. The workshop was titled, “Education Equity,” and it was a huge success. The following faculty conducted this workshop: Charlotte Green, Candice Barnes, Vicki Groves-Scott, Melissa Smith, and Donna Wake. In addition, our COE faculty presented numerous presentations throughout the conference. Their presentations are listed below:

Stefanie Sorbet and Candice Barnes - Using Positive Behavior Role Plays to Prepare Teacher Candidates for the Classroom: An Exercise for Classroom Management

Shannon D. Williams, Nancy P. Gallavan, Rhonda McClellan, Amy Baldwin, Taine Duncan, and Angela Webster - Relationships and Influences of Racial Identity Development and Leadership Identity Development on Black Men's Undergraduate College Persistence

Louis Nadelson, Shelly Albritton, Thomas Bruick, Valerie Couture, Charlotte Green, Stacey Loyless, Michael Mills, and Odunola Oyeniyi - The Education Equity Mindset of Post-Secondary Faculty Members

Stefanie Sorbet and Charles E. Notar - Establishing a Positive Classroom Design to Meet All Learners

Susan Perry and Stephanie Copes - The Debate between Decodable and Leveled Text and Meeting the Needs of All Students

Donna Wake, Julie Workman, and Karen Norton - Supporting Novice Teacher Induction for Increased Teacher Retention

Haihong (Helen) Hu and Uma Garimella - Algebra Connecting Concepts: An Evaluation of a Professional Development Program

Debbie Dailey, Jason Trumble, Michelle Buchanan, and Alicia Cotabish - Developing Engineering Design Skills in a Children's Summer Camp

Odunola Oyeniyi and Valerie Couture - A Comparison of First-Year Undergraduate and Graduate International Students’ Adjustment to College

Jessica Herring-Watson - Predicting Pre-Service Teachers’ Intention to Use Technology-Enabled Learning

Helen Hu, Donna Wake, and Erin Shaw - The Voices of AMI: From District Library Media and Instructional Technology Specialists

TeYhaunna Jackson and Nykela Jackson - Teachers’ Perceptions of Competency Based Curriculum

MSERA Achievements

COE faculty and graduates received several accolades throughout this conference. Michael Mills was elected as President Elect and Stefanie Sorbet was elected as Arkansas Director. Michael will complete his presidency in 2022, and the MSERA annual conference will be held in Little Rock that year.

Shannon Williams, a graduate from the Ph.D. Interdisciplinary Leadership Program was the recipient of the Herbert M. Handley Outstanding Dissertation Award. Jessica Watson-Herring, a faculty member in the Teaching and Learning Department, was the recipient of the Research In-Progress Award.

Living History Pandemic Project:

"We are living history and the documentation of our experiences is vital to future research." Tracie Rushing, Lecturer I in the department of Elementary Literacy and Special Education,

started the Living History Pandemic Project in the spring, after classes moved to online instruction, to give students a voice by collecting their experiences for the University Archives. Tracy said, "This summer, I asked the UCA Archives to digitize sections of their 9/11 collection. Students from my fall Instructional Strategies for K-6 Social Studies courses worked with these primary sources as an introduction to teaching history through primary source documents. This included the accounts of UCA students during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. From reading these, my students saw the value of preserving first-hand accounts and were eager to contribute artifacts to a collection on the pandemic."

Tracy was asked to share a five-minute video from this project at the CAHSS Webinar on the causes and consequences of pandemics. The following video is compiled from submissions received during a one-week period. No submissions or main thoughts were omitted.

Tracy said, "This is a powerful and honest statement of where our students are today. The video includes the reflections of UCA Education majors, along with two of our international students from Japan." She added, "I invite all who are interested in submitting their own written or recorded contributions and those who are interested in activities partnering with our international students to contact me at I hope this will offer insight into how the pandemic is affecting our student body."

COE Director of Development:

Greg Weber:

Greg Weber has been named the COE Director of Development. He brings thirty years experience as a business executive specializing in arts leadership, managing operations, building educational programming and producing international events at two of the largest cultural organizations in the United States. He has worked in 44 countries and produced shows with 120+ companies world-wide, producing more world premiere operas than any other active producer. As a fundraiser, he has been involved with generating over $20.8 million in annual campaign funding and he has been a leader in two capital campaigns totaling $12 million.

Greg has taught at Ohio Northern University and University of Missouri – Kansas City. He holds degrees from Ball State University and the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and studied and worked with the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia. He is passionate about collaboration, teamwork, leadership and organizational dexterity, which are the cornerstones for his success. His commitment to community and passion for innovation make him an excellent choice for the position of COE Director of Development.

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

Amber Duvall:

Amber is a Spring 2016 graduate of the UCA Master of Arts in Teaching Program. Since earning her degree and license at UCA, Ms. Duvall has taught grades K-4 in Togiak, Alaska. This year, Ms. Duvall accepted a position as a Student Support Specialist at her district office in Dillingham, Alaska. Her work includes federal reporting, test administration, student data management, enrollment, and scheduling. During her time in Alaska, Amber has made a significant impact on the students and families she serves. We are so proud of her!

Holly Moster:

Holly is a 2009 graduate of UCA's CSPA (College Student Personnel Administration) program. She works for the Cleveland Clinic as a Program Manager for their Physician/Scientist Coaching and Mentoring Program. Holly shared, "We provide curriculum and programs to teach our Staff how to serve as peer coaches and grow our coaching culture into all aspects of their experience at our academic healthcare institution."

Sydney Welch:

Sydney is a 2020 graduate of UCA's CSPA (College Student Personnel Administration) program. After completing her Master’s, she received a Regional Admissions Counselor position with Admissions and Enrollment at UCA. Sydney recruits students from Dallas, Fort Worth, and Oklahoma City. She said, "My favorite part is being able to not only share how amazing UCA is, but connect with them about going out of state. I’m originally from Kentucky and I went out of state for both of my degrees. I loved the idea of exploring a new place for a few years and calling it a home."

Faculty News:

Dr. Thomas Bruick:

Dr. Thomas Bruick, Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership Studies, recently had an article published, along with Dr. Craig Seager, in the October edition of the Talking Stick. Their article is entitled “Screen Time: Campuses turn to technology to replace (at least temporarily) face-to-face interactions for RA selection” and can be viewed at

Dr. Alicia Cotabish and Dr. Debbie Dailey:

Dr. Alicia Cotabish and Dr. Debbie Dailey were contributors to the 2nd edition of Self-Assess Your P-12 Practice or Program Using the NAGC Gifted Programming Standards. The book is designed for teachers and gifted education coordinators to reflect on and improve their teaching practices and gifted education programs. Both Dr. Cotabish and Dr. Dailey were involved in revising the standards in 2019. This book is one of the culminating products from the NAGC Professional Standards Committee.

Dr. Debbie Dailey:

Dr. Debbie Dailey, Associate Professor and interim chair in the Department of Teaching and Learning, recently contributed to a chapter in 3rd edition of Critical Issues and Practices in Gifted Education: A Survey of Current Research on Giftedness and Talent Development. She co-authored the chapter, Science Education for Gifted Students, with Dr. Bronwyn MacFarlane from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Dr. Victoria Groves-Scott:

Dr. Angela Barlow (Dean of the Graduate School) and Dr. Victoria Groves-Scott (Dean of the College of Education) recently had a chapter published in the book, "Using Mobiles in Early Childhood and Elementary Settings." Their chapter, " Preservice Teachers’ Conceptions of Mobile Technology in the Elementary Mathematics Classroom," is in Section I: Supporting Preservice and Inservice Teacher Development.

Dr. Odunola Oyeniyi:

Dr. Odunola Oyeniyi, Assistant Professor in the department of Leadership Studies, recently published an article in the Spring edition newsletter of the Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling.

Title: Substance Abuse in Adolescence: The Role of School Counselors.

Volume 7 issue 1, page 5-6

The article can be assessed from the link below:

Dr. Deanna Kay Rice:

Dr. Deanna Kay Rice, Assistant Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education (ELSE), recently had her paper submission, "Alternative Methods of Instruction: A Phenomenological Study Exploring Early Childhood Educators' Experiences with Distant Learning," accepted for the 2021 Virtual AERA Annual Meeting. Her paper was chosen as one of the selections out of more than 10,000 submissions.

The 2021 AERA Virtual Meeting will take place Friday, April 9-Monday, April 12, 2021.

Dr. Amy Thompson:

Dr. Amy Thompson, Assistant Professor in the department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education, recently had her article published in the Fall 2020 edition of The Field Experience Journal. Her article titled, "Embedded Field Experiences: Establishing Practices in Reading Instruction" can be viewed by going to

Student News:

Dr. Shannon Williams:

Dr. Shannon D. Williams, Summer 2020 graduate of the LEAD Program, has been awarded the Mid-South Educational Research Association’s (MSERA) 2020 Herbert M. Handley Outstanding Dissertation Award. He presented his research and received recognition at MSERA’s Annual Meeting that was held virtually on October 28 and 29. Dr. Williams’ study explored intersections of racial identity development and leadership identity development on Black men’s undergraduate college persistence. His dissertation committee consisted of Dr. Nancy P. Gallavan (co-chair), Dr. Rhonda McClellan (co-chair), Dr. Taine Duncan, Dr. Amy Baldwin, and Dr. Angela Webster.

Newsletter Archives:

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