UF honors local educators, students for ‘public scholarship’ benefiting schools, community

The University of Florida College of Education on April 25 honored educators and students from UF and Alachua County public schools whose scholarly outreach activities contribute to improved schools and student learning or address important social and community issues.

The honors are based on the “scholarship of engagement” philosophy, or engaged research and educational activ…


May 2, 2007



The University of Florida College of Education on April 25 honored educators and students from UF and Alachua County public schools whose scholarly outreach activities contribute to improved schools and student learning or address important social and community issues.

The honors are based on the “scholarship of engagement” philosophy, or engaged research and educational activities done for the public good. The research-intensive concept is a burgeoning movement in higher education that UF education Dean Catherine Emihovich has infused as a core principle of a faculty-led transformation of the college’s research and teaching programs.

The Scholarship of Engagement Banquet, held at UF’s Emerson Alumni Hall, also was a forum for recognizing this year’s College of Education student scholarship recipients and the donors who funded their endowed scholarships. It’s a rare occasion where scholarship donors get to meet the students who benefit from their philanthropy.

Keynote speaker was former Miami Herald publisher David Lawrence Jr., a prominent leader of Florida’s school-readiness movement, with close ties to UF. He illustrated the need for early-child education reform and described the recent partnership forged between UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning and The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, a Miami group headed by Lawrence. The two groups are sharing a new $10 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in an ambitious school-readiness effort called Ready Schools Florida, created to smooth the transition to school for at–risk children who are likely to start school unprepared.

Lawrence, a 1963 UF graduate, is a previous Scholarship of Engagement Award recipient. He joined the UF faculty in 2001 as the University Scholar for Early Childhood Development and Readiness, and last year his alma mater created a $1.5 million endowed professorship in early childhood studies in his name at the College of Education.

The College of Education recognized several local teachers, principals, school district administrators, university faculty and UF education students whose scholarly activities are yielding an immediate positive impact on teaching and learning in the classroom or on the community.

Those receiving Scholarship of Engagement Awards were:

  • Craig Roland, UF associate professor of art education
    University Award

    Roland is considered the consummate teacher and mentor to his students and, as a frequent presenter and widely published author, has made important contributions to the discourse on teaching art in higher education. His latest research includes exploring ways that the Internet and other technology can be used as an instructional and creative tool in visual arts classrooms. He also is committed to promoting the role of art education in the community. Since 1988, he has rallied his art education students in staging the Imagination Station at Gainesville’s annual Downtown Fall Festival and Art Show, leading family-oriented arts activities, music and dancing for hundreds of kids and their parents.

  • Mary Ann Clark, the B.O. Smith Research Professor
    College of Education Faculty Award
    Counselor Education Department

    Clark and her doctoral students are engaged in multinational research examining male underachieve-ment in public education across cultures. Through her clinical work at the Gainesville Wilderness Institute, a state program for juvenile offenders, she has seen firsthand that teaching and counseling styles that work with girls don’t necessarily work for boys. She is publishing and disseminating their findings to help pre-service educators develop interventional approaches that provide a positive view of learning and studying for all students. Clark frequently leads her graduate students on field experiences in collaborative research with the School Board of Alachua County, and works to build collaborative learning communities in local schools through family-school-university-community partnerships.

  • Dale Campbell, professor
    College of Education Faculty Award
    Educational Administration & Policy Department

    Campbell directs the community college leadership consortium at the college’s Institute of Higher Education. He is founder and director of the institute’s Community College Futures Assembly, an independent national policy forum for identifying critical issues facing community colleges and recognize model trend-setting programs. This year’s assembly in Orlando was the 13th annual gathering. Campbell’s recent research has drawn attention to a critical leadership gap in community colleges and he is working with college administrators on new strategies for resolving the looming staff shortage.

  • Nancy Waldron, associate professor
    College of Education Faculty Award
    Educational Psychology Department

    As an embedded “professor-in residence,” Waldron is collaborating with faculty, counselors and administrators at the P.K. Yonge laboratory school on the improvement of psychological services for students, parents and teachers. Her innovative approach to the identification and support of struggling learners has allowed PKY to integrate early intervention and academic and behavioral support services for all students. Her ambitious project is providing a model program that likely will be replicated by schools throughout the state and nation, and places PKY in a position to serve as a demonstration site for the approach to other districts, schools and educators.

  • Holly Lane, associate professor
    College of Education Faculty Award
    Special Education Department

    Lane’s scholarly work focuses on teaching reading to students—especially those with disabilities—who struggle when learning to read. She bases her scholarship on engagement with teachers, administrators and, most importantly, children—often working with them directly in their own elementary school classrooms. She has worked with several school districts on district-wide reading initiatives. Under separate federal grants, Lane is investigating the role of access to books in the homes of children at risk for reading failure, and is working to increase awareness of early intervention strategies in preschool-aged children to prevent reading and behavior failure. Some of her teaching models are being adopted statewide through her work with the Governor’s Family Literacy Initiative.

  • Maria Coady, assistant professor
    College of Education Faculty Award
    School of Teaching and Learning

    Bilingual education specialist Maria Coady teaches and conducts research in the field of ESOL (English speakers of other languages). She often takes her students on field trips to Florida’s migrant farm communities, studying their lifestyles and seeking better ways to teach predominantly Spanish-speaking migrant workers and their children how to understand and speak English. Armed with a small grant from the Florida Governor’s Family Literacy Initiative, Coady delivers high-quality, bilingual and multicultural literature for children in the migrant worker family homes. Acting globally, she also is collaborating on the development of an ESOL bilingual program at the UF Paris Research Center.

  • Don Pemberton, director, UF Lastinger Center for Learning
    College of Education Faculty Award

    Pemberton has directed the college’s Lastinger Center for Learning since 2002. He previously was president of Take Stock in Children, a statewide foundation supporting education for low-income children. At UF, Pemberton has excelled in creating innovative professional development activities for challenged, high-poverty elementary schools across Florida, and building comprehensive partnerships with key school districts and community organizations. He recently helped secure a $5 million dollar grant from t

    he Kel
    logg Foundation to develop “ready schools” for preK – grade 3 elementary children in the Miami-Dade school district.

  • Griffith Jones, university school associate professor
    P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School Faculty Award

    For 21 years, PKY students have benefited from Jones’ ability to relate to children of all ages and make science both understandable and fun. As a PKY teacher, Jones has developed “hands-on” science labs, course design and teaching methods that have served as a model for other lab schools and general science programs across the state. Collaboration is key to his approach: He has teamed with the Florida Museum of Natural History to create an on-site fossil pit at PKY and also helped establish the Physics Alliance of North Central Florida to promote K-12 physics teaching. Jones joined forces last year with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to teach students various factors about vehicle crashes. He relocated last fall to the College of Education to become a program coordinator in the new Science For Life program.

  • Tyran Wright, doctoral student in special education
    Graduate Student Award

    While pursuing her doctorate with a specialization in reading, Wright has emerged as a tireless leader in the college’s school-improvement and reading reform programs. She has served as a Lastinger Center for Learning facilitator for teacher study groups and as a research assistant for the Early Reading First Project. She’s also a trainer for the Florida Reading Initiative summer reading academy. Wright is a facilitator in UF’s network of Professional Development Schools and has assisted with the monthly meetings of elementary school reading coaches in 15 North Florida school districts.

  • Miami-Dade School District
    School District Award

    Miami-Dade School District leaders and educators have worked closely with the UF Lastinger Center for Learning and The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation in Miami on aggressive early-childhood education reform. A successful pilot project emphasized close parental and school involvement and intensive community-wide planning efforts to help 1,600 Miami-Dade three-year-olds make the transition to school ready to learn. That model is the foundation for an even larger initiative called Ready Schools Florida, in which the two groups, under a shared $10 million grant, will scale up the model first for all Miami-Dade schools, and then for other interested districts in Florida and other states.

  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, Mich.
    Community Award

    The Kellogg Foundation, one of the world’s largest private foundations, is the financial driver behind Miami-Dade’s “Ready Schools Florida” initiative in early-child development and education. The foundation’s $10 million grant, awarded in March to UF and The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation in Miami, supports new programs offering hope for thousands of young children woefully unprepared to succeed in school. Since its 1930 founding, the Kellogg Foundation has made nearly $500 million in charitable contributions to improve health, education and agriculture on four continents.

“Many people talk about taking action for change, but very few can document how they made a difference as these outstanding Scholarship of Engagement Award recipients have done. We strongly believe not only in the discovery of new knowledge, but also in applying and integrating that knowledge in productive and meaningful ways to impact practice in the field. This commitment illustrates professional education at its best,” Dean Emihovich said.