Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Christopher Rampacek

EDUGATORS WHO ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE – Dr. Christopher Rampacek

We are proud of our alum Dr. Christopher Rampacek (BSPE ’77 MEd ’78) for reminding us that the EduGator Nation really is everywhere. For the past two years he has been working on contracted teaching assignments in China, Thailand and Malaysia involving physical education and sport coaching for the U.S. Sports Academy. Christopher says, “It is a great opportunity to represent my country, share my educational passion and influence my students to become better teachers and coaches.”
Go EduGators!

Share your story at https://education.ufl.edu/alumni/update-info/

Christopher R.

St. Augustine EduGator Alumni Reception

The College of Education hosted an EduGator Alumni Reception at The Garden’s at the Oldest Wooden School House in St. Augustine on May 14. Thirty COE alumni and friends gathered together for food, drinks, conversation, and to hear the latest updates on the college’s initiatives. The College of Education plans to host future EduGator alumni gatherings around the state of Florida.

Thank you to all our alumni and guests who were able to attend this event!

To see all of the photos from the event, click here.

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Ohlson collaborating on writing instruction and technology integration project

Tiffany Ohlson (Ph.D. ’11, curriculum and instruction) is using her position as a Research Fellow for Early Learning and Literacy at the University of North Florida’s Florida Institute of Education to collaborate with practitioners and other researchers to design and implement a blended professional learning experience for pre-kindergarten and elementary school teachers on writing instruction and technology integration.

The initiative is designed to gain knowledge about how blended professional learning sessions on literacy, research-based instructional strategies and embedded tablet technology can impact classroom instruction and student achievement; as well as increase teachers’ knowledge and skills in the fields of literacy and technology. Results will be shared at the state and national levels.

Ohlson has presented at international, national, and regional conferences on effective literacy practices and technology integration. She recently wrote a chapter to be published in the third edition of Comprehension Instruction: Research-Based Best Practices due out this summer.

Alumna Awarded Counseling Fellowship from NBCC and Affiliates


Melanie Varney (MAE ’14 & EDS ’14, Mental Health Counseling) was selected for the National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program by The NBCC Foundation, an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors.  As an NBCC MFP Fellow, Varney will receive funding and training to support her education and facilitate her service to underserved minority populations.

Melanie Varney received her Master’s and Specialist degree, both in Mental Health Counseling, in 2014 from the University of Florida.  During her time at UF, Melanie received the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling’s (AARC) 2013 Master’s Exemplary Research and Practice Award.  Currently, Varney is a doctoral student in the counselor education and practice program at Georgia State University in Atlanta.  Her research areas include social privilege and oppression, the experiences of students of color in counseling programs, systemic racism, the long-term effects of racism, and intersectionality.

To read the press release, click here.

Outstanding Higher Ed. Alum Receives Tenure and Promotion

David Horton, Jr. (PhD ’09, Higher Ed. Admin) recently received tenure and a promotion to Associate Professor with Ohio University.  His teaching and research areas include the organization, governance and funding of higher education, multicultural development, diversity in higher education, the persistence of community college students, and the academic success of student-athletes.

Dr. David Horton received his PhD in 2009 in Higher Education Administration from the University of Florida and in 2011, he won the award for Outstanding Young Alumnus.  Horton came to UF with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in History from Dallas Baptist University. During his doctoral studies, he worked as a recruiter and assistant in the College of Education’s office of outreach, recruitment and retention. He also received funding to attend the College Sports Research Institute’s annual meeting. He credits much of his success to his involvement in athletics, saying, “My participation in athletics taught me that hard work does pay off, and that you get out of life what you put into it.”

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NSF fellowship is just the latest achievement for UFTeach alum Xavier Monroe

Xavier J. Monroe, a 2013 UF graduate, belongs on a UFTeach student recruitment poster.

And that’s even before he was awarded a prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship in STEM education and learning research recently from the National Science Foundation.

While Monroe was still a UF undergraduate double-majoring in civil engineering and history, and also minoring in African Studies, the College of Education in 2011 enrolled him in yet another degree program–its new UFTeach mathematics education minor.

For someone with Monroe’s drive, what’s one more degree program, right?

The UFTeach minor degree programs in math or science education together are one of the pillars of the college’s STEM education reform strategy. The goal of UFTeach is to enlist top science, technology, engineering and math majors and prepare them to teach effectively in one of those vital STEM disciplines at the middle or high school grade levels.

Monroe personifies what UFTeach is all about. After simultaneously earning all four UF degrees—the two majors and both minors, the east Gainesville native and former Florida Academic Scholar went on to obtain his master’s in educational leadership and policy a year later from the University of Michigan.

He’s now poised to start his second year of Ph.D. studies in educational policy at Stanford University, coinciding with his selection as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.

After Monroe completes his doctorate, he said he’d like to become a college professor and conduct education research in areas such as school transformation, policies and practices that will improve student achievement, the role of family and community partnerships with public schools, and issues of equity and access in STEM education, particular for underrepresented minorities.

Monroe said he’s grateful for the impact that UFTeach has had on his education philosophy and career path.
Monroe poses with a group of kids he met in Kano, Nigeria, where he conducted research as a UF undergraduate.

Monroe poses with a group of kids he met in Kano, Nigeria, where he conducted research as a UF undergraduate.

“The level of training and guidance from UFTeach equipped me with tools to succeed in the classroom as a pre-service teacher and in my local community work as an after-school instructor,” Monroe said. “This was also the beginning of my transition to the education field.”

“Education requires a great sense of humility, passion and the ability to partner with families and communities to best meet the needs of students, particularly our most vulnerable students,” he added.

Monroe said he vividly remembers something that UF STEM education instructor Kent Crippen said one night in class: “Students do not need your sympathy, they need you to teach them in ways that help to address the issues they face.”

Monroe’s fellowship was one of only 16 awarded by NSF in STEM education and learning research. The fellowship will support his study of the influence of teachers relating teaching content to the cultural backgrounds of their students.

Associate professor Crippen said Xavier’s fellowship award “is a significant accomplishment for a UFTeach alumnus and demonstrates the scope and broader impact of the program.”

CONTACTS
SOURCE: Xavier Monroe, monroexj@stanford.edu
SOURCE: Kent Crippen, UF College of Education; 352-273-4222; kcrippen@coe.ufl.edu
WRITER: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137; llansford@coe.ufl.edu;

’72 grad Renee Tipton Clift honored as 2015 UF Distinguished Alumna

The University of Florida has selected noted teacher education innovator Renee Tipton Clift, a 1972 graduate of the UF College of Education, to receive its 2015 UF Distinguished Alumni Award.

Clift, a professor and dean at the University of Arizona College of Education, will be recognized at UF’s commencement on May 1 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

She has been a highly influential figure throughout a stellar education career spanning four decades.

“Dr. Clift is noted not only for her innovation, renown and expertise in teacher education, but also for her capacity to build partnerships across educational institutions, policymakers and government agencies,” COE professor emerita Dorene Ross wrote in nominating Clift for the award. “This kind of leadership has direct impact on thousands of teachers and their students and demonstrates the highest levels of leadership.”

After receiving her bachelor’s in education from UF, Clift taught high school English for eight years in Florida. She went on to receive a master’s in educational administration from Stetson University and her Ph.D. in curriculum and teacher education from Stanford before launching her teacher education career at the University of Houston. She also has served on the University of Illinois education faculty, where she was the executive director of the Council on Teacher Education and headed the school’s Novice Teacher Project.

Clift has left her mark at every stop, where she studied or taught, and in her profession at large.

She’s known for her research investigating factors that affect the process of learning to teach—for pre-service teachers, professional development for practicing educators, and education leadership. Her current projects include Communities as Resources for Early Childhood Teacher Preparation (CREATE), a field-based, early childhood teacher prep program; making common core state standards for mathematics accessible to teachers; and an ongoing study that employs self-study methods to examine the impact a college dean can have on program development.

A prolific writer, Clift has co-authored two books, co-edited three others and has contributed 31 book chapters, including chapters in two of the most prestigious and influential books in teacher education–Handbook of Teacher Education and Studying Teacher Education: The AERA Consensus Panel. She has author and co-author citations for numerous journal articles.

“I’ve frequently relied on Dr. Clift’s published work to inform my own scholarship,” wrote UF teaching and learning professor Elizabeth Bondy. “Renee is able to write for multiple audiences, including university researchers, teacher educators, policymakers and classroom teachers. This special talent helps to explain the wide-ranging influence of her professional contributions.”

Not surprisingly, Clift has won numerous professional honors, including the Outstanding Research in English Education Award from the National Council of Teachers of English (twice, and the Hans Olsen Outstanding Teacher Educator Award from the Association of Teacher Educators.

She has held several leadership positions for the two most prominent professional teaching organizations–the Association of Teacher Educators and the American Educational Research Association.

Clift said her coursework and experiences during her bachelor’s studies at UF’s College of Education helped to shape her teaching philosophy and career path. She said her greatest takeaway was discovering that “I can always learn from my students because teaching is more about listening, discussing and interacting then about telling. I learned how to involve students in my classroom activities.”

As for advice to preservice teachers-in-training or novice teachers in their first years of teaching, she offers these words of wisdom: “Teachers are instructional organizers. It isn’t about you and what you do, it is about your students, how you engage them, and how your classroom allows them to learn and develop.”

CONTACT: Larry Lansford, News & Communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137; llansford@coe.ufl.edu

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Education Career Night, 2015

This year’s Education Career Night was a success! A panel of four dynamic College of Education alumni offered career advice and talked about the distinctly different career paths they each have followed—quite successfully—after earning their education degrees at UF. The event was held at the Reitz Union Auditorium on the evening of April 8th.

This year’s panel included:

  • Tina Calderone (MEd ’81, Ed Admin; EdD ’99, Ed Leadership) Seminole County School Board representative and former college administrator at UF.
  • Jayne Ellspermann (MEd ’84, Ed Leadership) principal of Ocala’s West Port High School and recently named ‘National Principal of the Year’ by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
  • Steve Freedman (BAE ’64 & MAE ’66, Education) adjunct Professor of Health Policy and Pediatrics at the University of South Florida College of Public Health and Founding Director emeritus of the Institute for Child Health Policy of the State University System at UF.
  • Skip Marshall (BAE ’95, MEd ’97, Elem Ed; EDS ’07, Curriculum & Instruction) Vice President and CTO of the Human Capital division of Tribridge (a Tampa-based technology services firm specializing in business applications and cloud solutions) and former teaching and technology fellow at UF.

For more photos of Career Night, click here.

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Tampa EduGator Alumni Reception

The College of Education hosted an EduGator Alumni Reception at the Epicuriean Hotel’s Culinary Theatre in Tampa on March 31st. Thirty COE alumni and friends gathered together for food, drinks, conversation, a cooking demonstration, and to hear the latest updates on the College’s initiatives. The College of Education plans to host future EduGator alumni gatherings around the state of Florida.

Thank you to all our alumni and guests who were able to attend this event!

To see all of the photos from the event, click here.

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EduGator alumni gatherings coming your way

EduGators in Tampa, Gainesville, Chicago and St. Augustine areas take note: We’re heading your way and would love to get together with you! Delicious food, great conversations and reminiscing with your fellow COE alumni await you, and you’ll hear the latest updates on the College’s exciting initiatives and latest trends in educator preparation and research.

Here are the dates to save for the EduGator Gathering in your area . . .

Tuesday, March 31
TAMPA
UF EduGator Alumni Reception
Epicurean Hotel, 1207 South Howard Avenue
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Dean Glenn Good and the UF College of Education invite you to join us at the Tampa EduGator Reception to be held in the Culinary Theatre of the Epicurean Hotel. Valet parking will be validated. Please join fellow COE alumni and friends for food, conversation, and to hear the latest updates on the College’s initiatives. There will be a food demonstration by one of the Epicurean’s chefs! For more details and to RSVP, email rsvp@coe.ufl.edu.

Wednesday, April 8
GAINESVILLE
Education Alumni Panel / Careers in Education Fair
UF Reitz Union
4 to 7 p.m.
These annual events offer a great opportunity to listen to and network with education professionals from across the state. All UF alumni and students are invited to attend one or both events.

– The Alumni Panel will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Reitz Union Auditorium. The first 25 attendees will receive a UF Education tote bag or t-shirt. A panel of four dynamic College of Education alumni will offer career advice and talk about the distinctly different career paths they each have followed—quite successfully—after earning their education degrees from UF. Panel members include: Tina Calderone, school board member at Seminole County Public Schools; Jayne Ellspermann, 2015 National Principal of the Year and principal of Ocala’s West Port High School; Steve Freedman, executive director of the Institute for Child Health Policy of the State University System of Florida; and Skip Marshall, vice president and CTO of Tribridge, a technology services firm.

— From 5 to 7 p.m., UF’s award-winning Career Resource Center and the College of Education are hosting the “Careers in Education” Fair in the Reitz Union Ballroom. Representatives from more than 50 Florida school districts will be on hand, and many will hire on the spot. Business attire is encouraged and you must have your resume and a photo ID to enter the fair. For more information, contact jgonzalez@coe.ufl.edu

Friday, April 17
CHICAGO
UF EduGator Alumni Reception
Chicago House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn Street
7 to 9 p.m.
You and a guest are invited to join UF Education Dean Glenn Good and Associate Dean Tom Dana, along with other alumni and education faculty, for a Chicago EduGator Reception in The Foundation Room of The House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn Street. Join your fellow Florida alumni and faculty for great food and conversation. The Gator Nation is Everywhere! For questions and to RSVP, email rsvp@coe.ufl.edu.

Thursday, May 14
ST. AUGUSTINE
UF EduGator Alumni Reception
Oldest Wooden School House, The Gardens, 14 Saint George Street
6 to 8 p.m.
Join fellow College of Education alumni for great food and conversation with your fellow EduGators, and you’ll receive updates on the College’s exciting initiatives and how we’re addressing the latest trends and issues in today’s complex education world. Hope to see you there! For more information and to RSVP, email rsvp@coe.ufl.edu

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