COE fetes ‘engaged scholarship’ efforts done for public good

Posted May 19, 2010

Since the early 2000s, UF’s College of Education has maintained a deep commitment to the core principle of “engaged scholarship”— innovative research and academic activities pursued specifically to make a meaningful difference in education and people’s lives. Engagement requires building connections with schools, families, school districts, community groups and government agencies to lead for change in a world where transformation in education and society is essential.


May 13, 2010



Posted May 19, 2010

Since the early 2000s, UF’s College of Education has maintained a deep commitment to the core principle of “engaged scholarship”— innovative research and academic activities pursued specifically to make a meaningful difference in education and people’s lives. Engagement requires building connections with schools, families, school districts, community groups and government agencies to lead for change in a world where transformation in education and society is essential.

The college recently announced the 2010 Scholarship of Engagement Awards honoring some of this year’s most noteworthy efforts in engaged scholarship by UF education faculty and graduate students, UF faculty, and other educators and education advocates in Alachua County and partnering school districts around the state.

The award recipients will be formally recognized this fall at the college’s 2010 Faculty Research and Engaged Scholarship Showcase.

Here are the 2010 recipients:

Faculty Award (School of Teaching & Learning)

Tim Jacobbe, assistant professor, mathematics education

Tim JacobbeEngaged scholarship comes naturally to Jacobbe, who blends his teaching and research in mathematics education with service to high-need elementary schools in his community. He teaches a math methods class to the elementary students and also provides supervised teaching opportunities for his UF preservice students. His activities not only support our future elementary math teachers but also benefit hundreds of schoolchildren from low-income families who are often marginalized in today’s education system. Jacobbe and his UF students also stage Family Math Night events two or three times each year at the schools, bringing together the schoolchildren and their families for fun math games and learning. These activities also model engaged-scholarship-in-action for UF doctoral students in math education. Jacobbe studies the impact of these efforts on preservice teacher and elementary student learning and disseminates his findings so other educators might benefit.

Faculty Award (School of Special Education, School Psychology & Early Childhood Studies)

Joseph Gagnon, assistant professor, special education

Joseph GagnonGagnon’s research and advocacy pursuits have focused intently on “the public good” for nearly three decades. He interrupted his teaching career early on in the 1980s to become a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in Morocco, where he taught schoolchildren with various disabilities. He returned to Sebring, Fla., as a special educator, determined to improve the education and plight of students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. He received his doctorate in behavioral disorders in 2002 from the University of Maryland, where he became affiliated with the National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice. His research on curriculum, assessment and accountability policies in exclusionary school settings has earned him national acclaim. He has published extensively on policy issues and academic improvement for students in confinement, and he has served as an expert consultant and court monitor for the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Faculty Award (School of Human Development & Organizational Studies in Education)

David Miller, professor, research evaluation and methodology

David MillerMiller heads the college’s CAPES (Collaborative Assessment and Program Evaluation Services) program, which provides vital assessment and research support for grant programs across UF and in partnering school districts. He has worked with the Jacksonville Children’s Commission since 2008 to provide an effective model for evaluating their many child and family services. He also is devising evaluation standards for the commission’s New Town Success Zone, serving mostly at–risk children. Last year, a report Miller wrote analyzing the state of Alabama’s Teacher Certification Testing program helped end nearly 30 years of litigation concerning the methods of Alabama’s teacher testing programs. He also has provided assessment or expert-witness services, mainly on educational issues, to numerous states, Florida school districts and area charitable organizations.

P.K. Yonge Award (P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School)

Randy Hollinger, middle school science instructor, P.K. Yonge

Randy HollingerWhile some teachers are slow to embrace the latest classroom technology, Randy Hollinger worked tirelessly last summer to plan and pilot-test a new cyber-based approach to teaching his 7th grade science class. No textbooks were needed. Instead, Hollinger taught his students to integrate the latest Web tools into personal learning pages to research poisonous and venomous creatures. He helped his students improve their digital literacy skills and navigate the Internet effectively, and even advised them how to respectfully request assistance from university scientists all over the world. His students engaged in the scientific process and created digital artifacts using multi-media and digital posters. Hollinger noted measurable improvements in students’ writing, scientific reporting and research skills. His rapport with students extends beyond his classroom to a phenomenally popular musical performing arts class, and the PKY cross-country teams he coaches are perennial state title contenders.

Graduate Student Award

Michael Barber, education psychology (School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education)

Michael BarberBarber, a Santa Fe College psychology instructor, has developed an impressive automated system for collecting data on his students’ engagement in learning and academic achievement. He has integrated this work into his doctoral studies aimed at identifying students’ personal traits and involvement in learning that will accurately predict their academic performance. His research provides a model for enhancing student engagement in higher education and has influenced the teaching methods of numerous UF instructors and teaching assistants with whom Barber shared his findings during his two years as a teaching assistant in educational psychology at UF. His self-assessment methods are proving particularly important in helping first-generation college students maintain their motivation and achievement. Barber has been involved in learning communities at the community college level which have been impacting students for many years.

University Award

Francis E. "Jack" Putz, UF biology professor

Jack PutzPutz, at UF since 1982, is an international expert on the ecological consequences of different land use practices. His research findings provide a sound ecological basis for forest conservation through sustainable use, balancing the protection of parks with the need to include livelihood-supporting approaches in forest management. In the 1980s, he executed the first forest certification audit for the organization that would become the Forest Stewardship Council. In the 1990s, he pioneered studies on the carbon benefits of “reduced-impact” logging. His research, and that of his students and collaborators, is influencing the development of worldwide policy on the best practices for forest management in the face of global climate change. He also is very involved in local environmental issues and efforts to increase environmental consciousness.

School District Award
Julie Janssen, superintendent, Pinellas County Schools

Julie JanssenJanssen in 2008 became the first female superintendent of the Pinellas County School District, bolstering both the secondary and higher education programs in the county. She has worked extensively with UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning in recent efforts to “reinvent” professional development as a tool to improve teaching and learning and leadership in Pinellas County schools. Janssen has previously worked as a math teacher, high school principal and adjunct professor at the University of South Florida, where she earned her Ed.D. degree.  She has held various leadership roles in Pinellas County schools and has consulted with school districts throughout the nation as a curriculum specialist. She balances her career with involvement in numerous civic causes and holds leadership posts with two local cancer-fighting foundations that she helped start.

Community Award

Karen Bricklemyer, president and CEO, United Way of North Central Florida

As chief executive of United Way of North Central Florida, Bricklemyer effectively builds and sustains bridges between “town” and “gown” and has forged strong connections between the college, university, community and United Way. She has invited UF education faculty to participate on the United Way research advisory council and has worked with the agency to provide the College of Education with seed money for early childhood literacy programs. She is a staunch supporter of the early learning movement, recognizing the importance of educating young children in the community and involving their families. Bricklemyer works tirelessly with the United Way to fight inequality and social injustice and helped to pioneer the One Neighborhood Initiative, a community impact program targeted to help needy families and individuals.

  Larry Lansford, COE News & Communications,