Turkey is home to COE Alum

The EduGator Nation spreads far and wide, even Ankara, Turkey.

Our latest international update comes from Cagdas Kockan (MED ’01, Math. Ed.) who currently works as a civil engineer at the Disaster and Emergency Management Office of Ankara, Turkey. He previously worked as a research assistant at the Gazi University Kirsehir Education Faculty between 2002-2007 and held a position at the Directorate of Public Works and Settlement Office of Kırsehir, Turkey.


’08 PhD graduate wins Initial Research Award

Todd Haydon, a 2008 UF doctoral graduate in special education, is one of two recipients of the second annual Ted Carr Initial Research Award, presented by the international Association for Positive Behavior Support. Haydon is an assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Cincinnati.











2005 alumna’s debut novel is ‘steamy affair’

Michelle (Thompson) Donice (Higher Ed Admin ‘05), a 2005 Ph.D. graduate in higher education administration and a former Holmes Partnership Scholar, published her debut novel, The Other Side of Through, in June. The author explores one woman’s painful search for self against the backdrop of her crumbling marriage and a steamy affair that makes her want to leave it all behind. Available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (http://www.plenarypublishing.com/).

Donice in 2005 was one of three UF recipients of the prestigious Holmes Scholarship, which recognizes advanced-degree students of color for their character, academic standing and career goals in education. She previously graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in communications from Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach. She lives in Ormond Beach with her husband and children and teaches English and creative writing.

She says she wrote The Other Side of Through after hearing so many women talk about marital issues.

UNC presents teaching award to UF special ed graduate

Melissa Miller (BAE ’93, MEd ’03, PhD ’07), a Triple EduGator with three UF degrees in education, received the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s 2011 Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction and Mentoring. She is an assistant professor of special education at UNC and coordinator of the special education-general curriculum program. Miller previously taught and worked as a research assistant at UF. (Read more in PDF, pg. 4: http://soe.unc.edu/news_events/slate/slate_spring11.pdf)

Life-Long EduGator Talks About Norman in the 70’s

Joyce Miller-Alper (MED ’71, ES ’74) has been teaching for over 40 years. Says Alper, “In the early 1970’s everyone wanted to intern in Gainesville and stay there to teach.”  She began at Gainesville High but quickly wanted to teach at the “new school”, Buchholz High,where at the time everyone was vying to work.  She taught at Buchholz for nine years before moving to Texas where she has been teaching ever since.

Several college of education professors had a profound impact on Alper, including Dr. Timmons and Dr. Casteel, who “would drink so much coffee when they visited the campus”.  She noted that Professor Ted Hipple debated with Alper for years whether or not you teach students or you teach the subject.  She recalls meeting with Dr. Hipple years later at a conference in Knoxville and continuing the debate.

“The University of Florida made me who I am. I am proud to be a Gator and to have been recognized by the college,” says Alper, “but the foundation was my professors. To them I am grateful for eternity.”

In 1989 Alper was named Outstanding Graduate by the UF College of Education and Texas Teacher of the Year.

UF Distinguished Alumna and Education Donor Speaks Out About Education

Read the following letter from alumna, Anita Zucker, regarding her view of education and the necessity of proper funding of education as a way to secure a better future for our country.











Recent COE Grad Starts New Teaching Position in Pakistan

Mueen Aizaz Zafar (PHD ’11, Higher Ed Admin) has been hired as Associate Professor at Riphah International University in Islamabad, Pakistan teaching PhD and MS students this fall .  In addition to his doctorate, he also has  master’s degrees in Development Policy and Planning (UK), and Business Administration (IBA, Karachi, Pakistan). Mueen, a native of Pakistan, previously served as Chair of Business Administration at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan, and as Senior Vice President at the MCB Bank Ltd. in Pakistan. He also has taught business related courses for several international universities. In 2006, Mueen and his wife, two daughters, and son came to Gainesville, where he worked with the UF Department of Housing and Residence Education and received the Florida Excellence in Housing Award (2010), Outstanding Student Employee Award (2009), and IHLUAC Recognition for outstanding leadership and distinguished service (2008).

During his time at UF, Mueen was involved in numerous research initiatives with his adviser Professor Linda Behar-Horenstein, some of which are still continuing even after completing his PhD.  Mueen is very thankful for Dr. Behar-Horenstein, stating “I owe her so much!”.

The EduGator Nation is Everywhere

The EduGator Nation is everywhere, including Isparta, Turkey.  Muhammet Demirbilek ( MED ‘01, PHD ‘04 Ed Tech) is an assistant professor of Educational Technology and vice dean for the College of Education at Suleyman Demirel University in Isparta, Turkey. Demirbilek is the founder and director of The Games, Learning & Society (GLS) Eurasia game research group and vice president of the Asia-Pacific Association of Multimedia-assisted Language Learning (APAMALL). He also serves as faculty affiliate of Games, Learning, and Society (GLS) group. To read an article in Wired Magazine about Demirbilek’s research, click here.


COE Alum Releases First Novel

Michelle Donice (PhD 2005, Higher Education Administration) teaches English and creative writing in Florida. “Teaching is Michelle’s dream job, and she loves discussing literature and teaching students how to express themselves through writing,” according to Michelle’s blog.


EduGator Appointed Assistant Professor at UC

COE alum Carlee Escue (MEd ’07, PhD ’10, educational leadership) was appointed assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of Cincinnati for the start of the 2010-2011 school year.  She minored in research and evaluation methodology.  To read more in the UC Educator, click here. To view Escue’s experience, awards and publications, click here.