3 faculty land UF opportunity grants

Posted May 20, 2009

UF has awarded Faculty Enhancement Opportunity grants to three education faculty members for creative professional development activities that will advance their scholarly acumen and the institution’s mission.

Silvia Echevarria-Doan (counselor education), Ester de Jong (teaching and learning) and Kara Dawson (education technology) together received more than $97,000 in the campuswide program, which President Bernie Machen started last year to support faculty professional development opportunities.

Echevarria-Doan (right) received more than $35,600 to create a business plan for establishing a revenue-generating, year-round marriage and family therapy center to serve the community. The center also would serve as a practicum and internship site for counselor education students and provide research opportunities for faculty and students. Her project involves analyzing comparable accredited programs at other university-based counseling centers through phone and skype interviews with other center administrative staff and visits to successful centers at other universities. Analysis of her collected data would be used to develop her final business plan.

de Jong’s award, also for $35,600, will fund activities to enhance her expertise in the research, policy and practice of teaching in multilingual contexts. She will attend two symposia on multilingualism and language policies, conferring with leading European researchers in this specialty, and will visit schools that aim for multilingual competence. She will use her added expertise to build on and extend her current $1.2 million study examining teacher effectiveness with students who speak English as a second language.

With a $26,000 award, Dawson (right) will collaborate with COE faculty in REM (research, evaluation and methodology) to advance her knowledge of evidence-based research methods. Such skills are needed to plan and design large-scale studies for major funding agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute for Education Sciences. Dawson’s research focuses on how technology impacts teaching practices and student learning. She has collaboratively developed online data collection tools that are used by hundreds of teachers in dozens of Florida school districts.

For faculty to receive an Enhancement Opportunity award, the college agrees to pay a portion of each grant, determined case by case. For this year’s three recipients, the College of Education funded $9,750, or about 10 percent of the combined grant values.