From Gainesville to Global — EduGator Alumna receives UNESCO-Hamdan Prize for Teacher Development
“Haiti can serve as an example of how teaching can be transformed by putting teachers at the center.”
“Haiti can serve as an example of how teaching can be transformed by putting teachers at the center.”
Triple gator Natalie King (B.S. ‘09, M.Ed. ‘11, Ph.D. ‘16) received a $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award to explore how middle and high school aged African American girls develop positive STEM identities.
The College of Education at the University of Florida continues to rise as a leader among the nation’s top graduate colleges of education climbing to No. 12 among public education colleges, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report annual survey of America’s Best Graduate Education Schools, released Tuesday (March 17, 2020).
Global businesswoman, philanthropist and College of Education alumna (B.A.E. ’72) Anita Zucker was recently honored with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education.
Triple gators Melanie Acosta (B.S. ‘02, M.Ed. ‘09, Ph.D. ‘13) and Diedre Houchen (B.S. ‘05, M.A.E. ‘09, Ph.D. ‘15) recently received the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) 2019 Outstanding Article Award in recognition of their collaborative work published in the Journal of Teacher Education.
Triple Gator Krista Ruggles (B.A. ‘98, M.Ed. ‘99, PH.D. ‘16) recently received a Faculty Excellence Award at Utah Valley University. The faculty who receive this award have demonstrated their support for UVU’s mission of student success through exceptional teaching as well as demonstrated excellence in scholarship and service.
Counselor education alumna Emi Lenes (Ph.D. ‘18) has established a course title “Multicultural Mindfulness,” which will be internationalized and offered to UF students in fall 2019. Current counselor education graduate student Caleb Chambliss recently delivered a TEDx Talk titled “Representation: The Purpose of Your Story.”
Hillsborough County named Jake Van Hise, Unified Elementary ProTeach alumni ‘13, a top-five finalist for Teacher of the Year. Van Hise serves as a fourth grade teacher at Gorrie Elementary School in Tampa, Florida.
Elyse Hambacher, B.A.E. ‘05 & Ph.D. ‘13, was recently selected as a Diverse: Issues in Higher Education Emerging Scholar for 2019.
The University of Florida’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service recently honored Allen Lastinger who has worked to make Florida a better place to live and work. Lastinger was named the 2018 Citizen of the Year for contributing to the state in a civic capacity above the requirements of professional duty.
COE faculty scholars Albert Ritzhaupt and Cynthia Griffin have been awarded editorships of leading research journals in their respective disciplines. Alumna Melinda Leko (PhD ’08) also landed a editorship alongside Griffin, her former UF professor.
The 2018 Outstanding Young Alumni Awards recognized two EduGators who have impacted the lives of many through service in education. Lauren L. May BAE ’08 & MED ‘09 and Christopher M. Mullin BAAED ’99 & Ph.D. ’08 (Higher Ed Amin) have both dedicated their careers to the field of education, creating a significant impact in the lives of students and communities they serve leading us into the future.
UF Special Education alumnus David Allsopp (MEd ’90, Specific Learning Disabilities; PhD, ’95, Special Education), has been named the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year by the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA).
The two recipients sharing the College of Education’s Outstanding Young Alumni award for 2016-17 also share a sense of entrepreneurship that is as keen as their love and skill at teaching.
After conducting a national search, the University of Florida has named a College of Education alumna as the new director of Baby Gator Child Development and Research Centers at UF.
Deciding the best candidate was already on staff, the university appointed Stacy Ellis, formerly the associate director for organizational operations at Baby Gator. She is a 2008 education doctoral graduate in curriculum and instruction.
Her promotion became effective June 17. Ellis succeeded Pamela Pallas, who retired after 13 years as Baby Gator director. Pallas also was a clinical associate professor in early childhood studies at the College of Education.
With Pallas at the helm, Baby Gator went through a growth spurt that saw it blossom into a nationally recognized center. Baby Gator is known both for its innovative daycare services and its collaboration with UF faculty researchers in cutting-edge early childhood studies.
In 2010, Baby Gator became the hub of the research activities for the new UF Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, which last year was renamed after COE alumna and major donor Anita Zucker. Ellis replaces Pallas on the center’s leadership team.
Before receiving her doctorate in education, Ellis earned her master’s in family, youth and community services in 2002 and her bachelor’s in human resource development in 1999, all at UF.
Ellis originally joined Baby Gator in 2004 as a teacher in the two-year-olds class and then rejoined in 2008 after completing her graduate degree. She quickly moved up the ranks from teacher, assistant director of educational programming, associate director for organizational operations, and now director.
Ellis says her major focuses as she steps into the new role will be to increase salaries for Baby Gator teachers, introduce new research based practices, and build on Baby Gator’s long-standing relationship with the College of Education and the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood studies.
“We have a model demonstration program that is nationally recognized,” she said. “My ultimate goal is to expand on that and push Baby Gator towards innovation in the early childhood field.”
Pallas said that Ellis’ knowledge, experience and ideals, from both her College of Education theoretical background and her years of practical experience at Baby Gator, made her the top candidate for the position.
“I know she will help grow, achieve and maintain Baby Gator’s well-deserved recognition under her tenure as director,” Pallas said..
When Pallas arrived in 2003, Baby Gator was enrolling around 80 students and had only one location. Now, Ellis takes over a center that enrolls 333 children across their three centers and maintains a long waiting list.
Ellis will oversee Baby Gator’s continued growth as it strives for preeminence in the field and is working cooperatively with the Anita Zucker Center and community agencies to partner in unique ways.
Writer: Kelsie Ozanne, news and communications office, UF College of Education; firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Relations: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4173; email@example.com
Henry R. Boekhoff (MEd ’70, PhD ’78, ed. leadership) is widely recognized as a leader in the field of school finance and for his dedication to improve the quality of public education across Florida. Now, after four decades working behind the scenes at many Florida school districts, Boekhoff is in the spotlight.
He is the 2016 winner of the University of Florida College of Education’s Distinguished Alumni Award. UF President Kent Fuchs and education Dean Glenn Good presented the award to Boekhoff Saturday evening at UF’s commencement ceremony for undergraduate degrees at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Boekhoff, 73, said he was surprised to learn he would receive the award considering he has worked mostly out of public view during his long career.
“Most likely I am being given the award because of the sheer longevity of my career, and part of that is the opportunity I have had at a relatively early age to make a mark in the area of school finance,” he said.
The honor comes to a man who rose from humble beginnings.
Born in New York City in 1943, Boekhoff grew up in Nassau County, Florida, on a would-be chicken farm. His family was poor, especially after his father died suddenly of a heart attack when Henry was 7 years old.
His mother never remarried and the family didn’t have money for college. After graduating high school, Boekhoff found a job cleaning barnacles from vessels at a shipyard in Jacksonville. Soon enough he enlisted in the Army, where he earned college credits toward an accounting degree. After his discharge, he transferred to the University of Florida and in 1966 earned a bachelor’s in business.
Boekhoff’s career in school finance started by chance not long after he discovered he disliked working as an auditor for an accounting firm. He took a job as director of finance for the Nassau County School District in Fernandina Beach.
He quickly made a name for himself and went on to serve as deputy superintendent and chief financial officer for many of the state’s largest school districts, including Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Orange counties, where he displayed a passion for education and commitment to schools and communities.
More recently, Boekhoff has served as co-CFO of Florida Virtual School, the country’s first, statewide internet-based public high school and a provider of online K-12 education programs. Boekhoff still works full-time for the virtual school as a special assistant to the chief financial officer.
Along the way, Boekhoff continued his own education and returned to the University of Florida to receive a master’s in education in 1970 and a doctorate in Education Leadership in 1978.
He said his career has been guided by an understanding that financial considerations are at the heart of creating a well-functioning public school system.
“It’s crass to say in a way, but if you don’t have the funds you can’t keep hold of good employees and if you don’t have good employees the children are going to suffer,” he said.
Often referred to as the “dean” of school finance officers in Florida, Boekhoff helped shape the formulas that determine how funds are distributed to public schools and advocated for fair and equitable school funding. He coined the phrase “adequacy and equity” to highlight the inequitable distribution of education funding caused by the wide disparity in property values between rich and poor counties in Florida.
Boekhoff’s leadership helped Florida craft one of the most equitable education funding formulas in the nation.
“I have always been an idealist,” Boekhoff said, citing Thomas Jefferson as an inspiration. He paraphrased the founding father: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
Writer: Charles Boisseau, Office of News and Communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4449
Media liasion/Director of News and Communications: Larry Lansford, 352-273-4137
Maureen Conroy, co-director of the University of Florida Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, has received the 2016 Outstanding Leadership Award from the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders.
CCBD, a division of the Council for Exceptional Children, presents the award to an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of behavioral disorders in the areas of research, leadership, teacher education and policy. Conroy was recognized April 14 at the CEC’s annual conference in St. Louis.
Conroy, the Anita Zucker Professor in Early Childhood Studies, has advanced research and practice in the field of behavioral disorders through her work in early identification, prevention and intervention. For 35 years, she garnered more than $15 million in research and training grants, produced 90 peer-reviewed publications and trained the next generation of leaders. A member of CCBD since 1981, Conroy has served in a number of leadership roles, including co-editor of its flagship journal, Behavioral Disorders.
Brian Boyd, who received a doctoral degree at UF under Conroy’s mentorship, nominated her for the award, citing her years of research, practice and teaching.
“I can attest to the importance she feels in ensuring her students acquire the ability to conduct sound research that contributes to the field, and importantly, educators, families and children,” said Boyd, now an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Boyd, also recognized at the conference, received the CEC’s 2016 Distinguished Early Career Research Award. The honor recognizes scholars who have made outstanding scientific contributions in basic or applied research in special education within 10 years after receiving their doctoral degree.
Independent of her award selection, Conroy was invited by the Institute of Education Sciences to present her research at the conference. She and her colleague, Professor Kevin Sutherland of Virginia Commonwealth University, shared findings from their recent investigation of an early childhood classroom-based intervention. Developed to support early childhood teachers’ use of effective practices, the intervention is designed to improve the social, emotional and behavioral competence of young children at risk for behavioral disorders. Their large-scale, four-year study was funded by the institute, which is the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education.
The CEC is an international professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities through advocacy, standards and professional development. The mission of the CCBD is to improve the educational practices and outcomes for children and youth with emotional and behavior disorders.
Source: Maureen Conroy, 352-273-4382
Writer: Linda Homewood, 352-273-4284
Ross Van Boven received his doctorate in curriculum and instruction, a program designed to prepare practitioner scholars.
What is a practitioner scholar? A professional who brings theoretical, pedagogical and research expertise to help identify, frame and study educational problems as a way to continually improve the learning conditions in their schools and districts.
Middle school teacher Ross Van Boven has received a prestigious national award presented by the American Education Research Association for outstanding research by examining what he does every school day.
Van Boven specializes in working with sixth and seventh graders at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School who are on the margins — whether because they are struggling or high-achieving. His study at the public school affiliated with the University of Florida’s College of Education examined his experience in teaching a gifted sixth-grade student during the 2014-2015 school year.
The Teacher as Researcher Award recognizes a pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade teacher for research conducted in their schools. Van Boven received the award at the association’s annual meeting, held this year in Washington, D.C., April 8-12. AERA says its teacher-as-researcher special interest group is the only one like it: dedicated to recognizing high quality research done in schools by preK-12 instructors on their own practice.
Van Boven is a “learning community leader” at P.K. Yonge, which is UF’s special school district created to develop innovative solutions to educational challenges.
His training and experience is notable for his teaching as well as his scholarship. He has earned three degrees from UF’s College of Education: a bachelor’s (’06) and master’s (‘07) in elementary education and, in December, a doctorate in curriculum and instruction.
Van Boven’s doctorate was in a program tailor-made by faculty in the Curriculum, Teaching, and Teacher Education program area to focus on the unique needs of practitioners who wish to become scholars of practice, leading change and improvement from within their local districts, schools and classrooms, said Nancy Fichtman Dana, a UF education professor and a leading international authority and researcher on teacher professional development and school improvement. Dana served as the chair of Van Boven’s dissertation committee.
Van Boven’s award-winning project, the capstone for his dissertation, took a close look at how best to teach gifted and talented students at a time P.K. Yonge is transforming its approach to a “push-in” teaching model from a “pull-out.” In the push-in approach, general education and special education teachers work within the regular classrooms to serve all learners; in the pull-out approach, teachers work with these students in separate classrooms.
“It’s a real challenge to provide the time and services to all the students in the program,” Van Boven says. With a caseload of 41 students, he bounces from classroom to classroom to help learners in subjects ranging from math to social studies. Not only does he have to know the content, he must collaborate closely with the content-area teachers, which sometimes is problematic because of contrasting styles and time schedules. He also closely consults with parents to better understand their child’s needs and to personalizes lessons.
Van Boven tracked his experience of teaching one of his students by using a variety of tools, including his cell phone’s voice-to-text feature to capture episodes in near real time and digital recording of interviews so he could transcribe them later for analysis.
He says his research helped to improve his teaching in a variety of ways, such as more closely working with content-area teachers to rework the timing of his push-in to classrooms and planning periods with other teachers. “This allowed for ongoing collaboration and hopefully continues to remove some of the pressures teachers felt for planning to meet student enrichment needs,” he wrote in a report of the study.
He has shared his P.K. Yonge findings with the school’s administration and teachers, including the school’s five other learning community leaders. The study informed their perennial challenge: How best to provide in-classroom lessons to gifted students without disrupting the heterogeneity of classrooms.
Dana says Van Boven’s research “provided a rich accounting of how one middle school child was experiencing the program, and these insights led to specific actions Ross and his colleagues took to improve this new model.”
The school has launched a pilot program to cluster some gifted-and-talented students in the same classes to help learning community leaders and core teachers improve efficiency and coordination.
Despite the challenges, Van Boven says the collaboration required in the push-in model is helping teachers – including him – grow in their own practice. The award highlights the power of practitioner research to improve education for students – and provides Van Boven an opportunity to broaden his impact by sharing his experiences with other teachers.
“I am hopeful that my advocacy for students and collaboration with content-area teachers will result in sustained opportunities to provide content enrichment for students on my caseload,” Van Boven wrote.
Source: Ross Van Boven, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School; 352-392-1554
Media Relations: Julie Henderson, P.K. Yonge DRS; 352-392-1554
Writer: Charles Boisseau, UF College of Education, news and communications office
A pair of College of Education alumni have been selected for prestigious national honors from the Council for Exceptional Children for their outstanding research.
Brian Boyd won the 2016 Distinguished Early Career Research Award and recent graduate Elizabeth Bettini won for the best student-initiated research study.
The Arlington, Virginia-based Council for Exceptional Children is the world’s largest organization of special education professionals and educators. CEC will present the awards in April in St. Louis at the group’s annual convention.
Boyd’s honor recognizes scholars who have made outstanding scientific contributions in basic or applied research in special education within 10 years after receiving their doctoral degree.
Boyd now is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received a doctorate in special education in 2005 from UF under mentorship of Maureen Conroy, Ph.D., who now serves as co-director of the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies.
UF Special Education Professor Mary Brownell said: “The Early Career Award is one of the most significant awards recognizing the promise of young scholars in special education.”
The official language from the award said: “Dr. Boyd is considered one of the most promising scholars in early childhood and autism. He has published 46 papers in top-tier journals, such as the Journal of Child Psychology and the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, and his work is cited frequently.”
Bettini won for quantitative design for her research paper titled: Novice Special Educators’ Perceptions of Workload Manageability: Do They Matter and Are They Influenced by Novices’ Perceptions of Their Social Context?
Selected through a confidential review process, the award recognizes high-quality scholarship across multiple research methodologies conducted by students in the course of their undergraduate or graduate special education training program.
Bettini earned a doctorate in special education from the College of Education in 2015 and now is an assistant professor of special education at Boston University.
“Elizabeth was an outstanding student who continues to be devoted to conducting research on working conditions for special education teachers,” Brownell said. “She won the Outstanding Graduate Researcher Award for our College of Education in 2015.”
A UF College of Education Ph.D. candidate is in the national education spotlight for leading a Pinellas County elementary school honored for having the nation’s top U.S. STEM program.
Kristy Moody, principal of Jamerson Elementary in Pinellas County, accepted the STEM Elementary School of the Year for 2016 award on behalf the school. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The award was presented last week in Orlando at the Future of Education Technology Conference, an annual gathering of education leaders and technology experts from across country.
Moody is a graduate student in the University of Florida’s College of Education Leadership in Educational Administration Doctorate (LEAD) program, which caterers to working professionals seeking to earn a doctorate in four years of part-time study. The cohort program offers classes online, with periodic weekends at UF and other locations across the state.
Conference organizers said STEM awards are given to the nation’s top elementary, middle and high schools based on an evaluation of the use of interdisciplinary curriculum, collaboration, design, problem solving and the STEM experiences offered.
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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.
“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.”
SOURCE: Xavier Monroe, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Kent Crippen, UF College of Education; 352-273-4222; email@example.com
WRITER: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137; firstname.lastname@example.org;
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; email@example.com
David Fields, a 2008 M.Ed. graduate in social studies education, has been named the Clay County (Fla.) School District’s Teacher of the Year.
Fields has been teaching advanced placement U.S. history and American government at Orange Park High School for the past seven years, and also designed a sports history course that requires students to research the history of a pro franchise or college team.
“I learned that being passionate about my profession helps to get students to buy into the subjects I teach,” Fields said. “Sometimes I think it’s crazy that I get paid to work every day and talk about subjects that I’m so interested in – whether it’s Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressive Movement or how instrumental he was in saving football from extinction in the early 1900s.
“The Secondary ProTeach program at UF gave me the tools to enter my classroom on Day 1 as a consummate professional,” he added. “I need to adapt to new technology and content so I can meet the needs of students in the 21st century.”
Fields’ former social studies education professor, Elizabeth Washington, said she wasn’t surprised to learn of Fields’ selection as Teacher of the Year.
“Dave was very committed to making his lessons culturally relevant and engaging,” Washington said. “He was always
very passionate during classroom discussions — always willing to think through challenging issues and make thoughtful contributions.”
Fields, who also earned bachelor’s degrees in history and political science with a minor in secondary education at UF, will go on to compete to become Florida’s Teacher of the Year.
Clay Today, a weekly newspaper in Clay County, ran a recent article on his latest honor.
College of Education alumna Amber Benedict (PhD ‘14,
special education) will head for San Diego this spring to receive the prestigious Student Research Award for Qualitative Design from the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Research.
The council is the world’s largest organization of special education professionals and educators.
Benedict, who has been serving as a post-doctoral associate in special education for the COE and its Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform (CEEDAR Center) since earning her doctorate last August, is the fourth student of COE doctoral faculty adviser Mary Brownell to receive the award in the past six years. Previous recipients and their current institutions were Melinda Leko (University of Kansas), Mary Theresa Kiely (St. Johns University), and Alexandra Lauterbach (University of Massachusetts, Amherst).
“It’s no accident that Dr. Brownell’s students repeatedly win this award,” Benedict said. “She works tirelessly to ensure that multiple grants operate concurrently, and she has modeled for us relentlessly while pursuing funding and support for large-scale research and technical assistance.”
“Her positive leadership has altered my life’s trajectory,” Benedict added. “Because of her high expectations, I’ve developed the knowledge and skills to be a strong teacher educator. And now I’m carving out a path for myself as a special education researcher.”
Benedict’s award is based on her dissertation, Learning Together: Teachers’ Evolving Understandings During Ongoing Collaborative Professional Development, and will be presented during the CEC’s national conference in April.
“I want to focus on ensuring that students with learning disabilities and other struggling learners have access to high-quality instruction,” Benedict said. “One way to do that is to demonstrate that teachers’ professional learning opportunities can increase student achievement in the area of literacy.”
Liaison: Larry Lansford, director, College of Education Office of News and Communications; firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 352-273-4137.
Writer: Stephen Kindland, College of Education Office of News and Communications; email@example.com; phone 352-273-3449
UF higher education administration alumna Zaria Malcolm (PhD ’11) was recently appointed vice principal of academic affairs and institutional advancement at Excelsior Community College in Kingston, Jamaica.
Malcolm, a native of Jamaica, earned her doctorate at UF with a concentration in qualitative research methodology.
“The program and degree from UF was the best possible preparation for the work I’m doing now,” she said.
During her UF studies, Malcolm received major scholarships, including the Graduate School Fellowship, the university’s most prestigious graduate student award. The fellowship program is intended to recruit the most qualified students to pursue graduate-level study and research at UF.
She attended UF under a special Fulbright scholarship awarded to select students who come to UF from abroad to pursue their graduate studies with an expectation that they will return to their home country upon graduation and contribute to national development.
“I always had it in the back of my mind that I was going home to contribute to Jamaica’s education system,” she said.
As an administrator, Malcolm has a special interest in providing more opportunities for both students and faculty at Excelsior to receive international exposure and experience.
“In the field of education, I think we need to help to develop not just national citizens but global citizens,” she said
Malcolm said she has a lifelong connection to her alma mater and appreciates the Gator Nations’ involvement with the rest of the world. With such a wide reach, she believes the higher education program at UF can contribute to the development of educational leadership not just in the United States, but internationally.
“There are really good people and programs in the College of Education,” she said. “I think we need to highlight that in order to take the Gator Nation even higher.”
SOURCE: Zaria Malcolm,vice principal of academic affairs and institutional advancement , Excelsior Community College; firstname.lastname@example.org
WRITER: Candice Wynter, communications intern, UF College of Education; email@example.com
MEDIA CONTACT: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; firstname.lastname@example.org; 352-273-4137
What advice would UF College of Education alumni who graduated exactly a half-century ago–from the class of 1964–give to today’s education students?
The COE recently joined colleges across campus in honoring their new 50-year alumni, as members of the class of 1964 were inducted into the UF Alumni Association’s Grand Guard. Here is advice from some of the seven new COE Grand Guard inductees (pictured) who attended a luncheon at Norman Hall recently honoring their 50-year class:
“Have high standards, your kids will rise to it. Just because you have a degree in education doesn’t mean you have to teach. Keep the level of respect high; continue to learn.” — STEVE FREEDMAN
“Put your heart into it . . . Enjoy the children. If you don’t like teaching, find something else because you won’t be good at it.” — CAROL HAYES CHRISTIANSEN
“Know your discipline, get background knowledge, teach to the highest level and always expect a lot out of your students.” — DIANE BROWN
“Take advantage of P.K. Yonge (UF’s K-12 developmental research school)” — ANNA KARAYIANNAKIS
“P.K. Yonge is a great starting place. Follow your dreams. Take advantage of what you can.” — DIANE HAINES
“Be passionate; put your best self forward.” — VIRGINIA CULPEPPER
“The quest for knowledge is lifelong; foster a love for curiosity (in your students).” — BRUCE CULPEPPER
Lyle McKinney, a 2010 UF doctoral graduate in higher education administration, was recently awarded the University of Houston’s 2014 Teaching Excellence Award.
McKinney is an assistant professor of higher education and faculty-in-residence at UH.
This award isn’t McKinney’s first recognition as a top teacher. In 2013, he received the UH College of Education Research Excellence Award and also was one of four assistant professors across the state of Texas to serve as a Faculty Fellow of the Greater Texas Foundation.
He said his goal is to help shape public policies and institutional practices that raise the chances of success for community college students. He said he benefitted from UF COE’s national reputation as one of the best at preparing highly effective community college educators.
“UF gave me this great opportunity as a student to immerse myself in meaningful research,” he said. “It built a confidence that kind of snowballed.”
As a member of the Houston Gator Club, McKinney still feels closely linked to the Gator Nation. He said he gains a deeper appreciation for the knowledge and motivation his alma mater provided as the years go by.
“I want to take the knowledge I’ve gathered from UF and use it to improve the lives of others,” he said.
UF higher education administration alumna Monique Perry was recently appointed dean of enrollment services at York Technical College. York Tech is a two-year community and technical college outside of the Charlotte, North Carolina area.
As dean, she oversees student recruitment and admissions, academic records, the college-wide call center, and financial aid.
She earned her Ed.D. in higher education administration with a concentration in community college leadership from UF in 2013.
“The depth of knowledge, exposure and the support of the UF network I developed there helped make me competitive for my current position,” Perry said. “Our program focused on developing us as a total package.”
Perry’s research interests include the impacts of the multi-generational workforce on higher education and its ability to attract and retain future leaders, especially millennials. Her dissertation at UF included research on millennial faculty workplace preferences and their impact on job satisfaction.
“My legacy is to not only help develop people in higher education, but also make sure that I contribute to programs, initiatives and guidelines that help make students successful,” she said.
UF College of Education alumna Jayne Ellspermann (MEd ’84, educational leadership), principal of Ocala West Port High School, was named national principal of the year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She was one of six finalists for the 2015 honor.
The award was announced Oct. 7 at a surprise assembly at the school attended by Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart, elected state and local officials, students, teachers and Ellspermann’s own family. The announcement came as part of NASSP’s celebration of National Principals Month.
During her 10 years as West Port principal, Ellspermann has ushered in a pervasive college-going culture. The high school is home to the Early College Center, an official offsite College of Central Florida campus. Ten percent of West Port’s 2014 seniors earned associate’s degrees a month before actually graduating from high school.
Lunchtime at West Port is “Power Hour,” a student empowerment initiative that Ellspermann launched to grant students autonomy over an hour of their school day for academic enrichment, open labs, clubs and other creative opportunities. Three years of “Power Hour” has produced a more personalized and successful school environment, helping to transform the campus into an “A” school that boasts the highest test scores in the district. West Port students also can earn an associate’s degree before graduating from high school thanks to an on-campus college program Ellspermann spearheaded.
A former law enforcement officer, Ellspermann joined Marion County Public Schools 34 years ago as a high school social studies teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from the University of Florida.
“Jayne Ellspermann believes in students and pushes them to succeed by convincing them the future is theirs to control. ‘Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours’ is the standard mantra at WPHS,” said Superintendent George Tomyn of Marion County Public Schools. “Ellspermann supports this student-focused theme by developing and leading dedicated teachers who deliver outstanding instruction and guidance to West Port students.”
The search for this year’s national principal of the year started in early 2014 as each state principals association selected its state middle level and high school principals of the year. From this pool of state winners, a panel of judges selected three middle level and three high school finalists. A separate panel then interviewed and rigorously reviewed the finalists’ applications to select the national winner. Each finalist received a $1,500 grant, and the national winner will receive an additional grant of $3,000. The grants will be used to improve learning at the school.
— Read more about Jayne Ellspermann’s recognition here.
— Read her article about Power Hour.
— Watch some of our selected interviews with Jayne on pertinent education leadership topics.
Ian Neuhard (Ed.D. ’13) will be the new president of the Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Kent campus beginning July 14.
Neuhard, who has served as dean of baccalaureate programs for the past seven years at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Fla., said his experience at UF provided the impetus for landing his new position.
“Earning my doctorate last year was a key aspect of my successful candidacy,” he said. “I have the faculty at the College of Education to thank for all the hard work, advice and assistance they provided as I worked to complete the program and achieve this next important step in my career.”
Neuhard majored in higher education administration at UF. He received his master of professional studies degree in community services administration from Alfred University in New York in 1997.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in English language arts education at the University of Central Florida in Orlando after receiving an associate in arts degree from Valencia Community College, also in Orlando.
EduGator alumna Jayne Ellspermann (MEd ’84, education leadership), the principal at West Port High School in Ocala, is Florida’s “Principal of the Year” according to the Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA).
FASA singled out Ellspermann based on her rich experience and longevity in public education and for raising academic scores at West Port.
Ellspermann is known for her focus on student achievement, staff training and campus pride. She recently instituted a “Power Hour” for students, empowering them to make informed choices for clubs and activities, and has seen her campus transform into an “A” school with the highest scores in the district. She also brought a college program to West Port, enabling students to earn their associate’s degrees on campus before graduating from high school.
Ellspermann joined Marion County Public Schools in 1980 as a high school social studies teacher. She rose through the ranks as testing specialist and assistant principal at two schools. She received her first principal appointment in 1992 and served in that capacity at Romeo Elementary, Osceola Middle, and West Port Middle schools before moving to West Port High in 2004.
She earned a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Georgia and a master’s in educational administration from the UF College of Education.
Ellspermann now represents Florida in the 2015 MetLife / NASSP National Principal of the Year competition.
FASA represents nearly 11,000 education administrators to support professional goals and enhance the quality of education.
St. Petersburg College has honored UF College of Education alumna Helen Gilbart with its 2014 Outstanding Alumna Award.
Gilbart graduated from St. Petersburg Junior College (renamed SPC in 2001 when it began offering baccalaureate degree programs) in 1964 with her associate in arts degree. After earning her bachelor’s and master’s in education from UF in 1965 and 1967 respectively, she returned to SPJC as a faculty member at its Clearwater campus where she later became the program director for humanities, fine arts and communications.
In receiving the SPC honor, Gilbart was described as “a true example of a life-long educator and advocate of student success.” She has published several student reading skills and test preparatory manuals and was one of the founding members of SPC’s Women on the Way resource and support center to help women succeed in college. With her late husband Donald Gilbart (BAE ’52, MEd ’63), she was one of the early members of the SPC Foundation’s Legacy Society.
The Gilbarts have provided endowments and scholarship support over the years for both SPC and UF’s College of Education. In 2008, the UF college formed the Gilbart-Olsen Education Technology Endowment with a joint $100,000 donation from the Gilbarts and alumna Norma Olsen (BAE ’76, MEd ’80). The COE last fall used endowment funds to purchase 20 iPads for pre-service teaching students to use in their technology integration courses, helping them develop the skills necessary to teach schoolchildren how to effectively use and learn from technology.
“I think back on my days in Norman Hall with so much pleasure,” Gilbart said. “I received my best direction and influence from professors who inspired me to want to help those children and college students who have no way to help themselves without a helping hand from people like me. I always hope that others will want to pay it forward, too, by donating to UF and (the College of Education).”
SOURCE: Maria Gutierrez Martin, development and alumni affairs, UF College of Education, email@example.com, 352-273-4140
WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education
UF College of Education graduate Willis Holcombe, who has provided a lifetime of illustrious service to his country and to Florida’s higher education systen, received the 2014 UF Distinguished Alumnus Award during the COE’s annual Recognition Banquet held April 11 at the UF Hilton.
Holcombe served as a marine captain from 1969 to 1972, and went on to graduate from UF with a master’s degree in education in 1972 and a Ph.D. in college administration in 1974. He made a lasting impact at Broward and Brevard community colleges. As vice president at Brevard (1981-87), he promoted a culture of academic integrity and collaboration. In two stints at Broward, Holcombe held a number of posts until he was named president in 1987– a position he held for 17 years.
Holcombe was named interim president of Florida State College at Jacksonville in December of 2012 after coming out of retirement in 2006 to serve as interim president at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale. He also “unretired” to serve as chancellor of the Florida College System for four years, supporting the growth of baccalaureate degrees at Florida’s community colleges.
He recently helped lead a six-month strategic planning effort by the UF Institute of Higher Education, part of the College of Education. Holcombe facilitated focus groups and brainstorming sessions involving more than two dozen IHE alumni, graduate students and national leaders in higher education administration.
Holcombe began his higher education career as a 1973 recipient of the W.K. Kellogg Fellowship at UF, studying under James Wattenbarger, widely recognized as the father of Florida’s community college system. In 2003, Holcombe received the Dr. James L. Wattenbarger Award from the Association of Florida Colleges; and in 2011, he was presented with the association’s inaugural Willis Holcombe Leadership Award.
“I’ve known Willis Holcombe for 20 years and believe he has followed in Dr. Wattenbarger’s footsteps as the lead architect of the new Florida college system,” said IHE director Dale Campbell. “He carries a great deal of respect from his peers. He’s very deserving of this award.”
Holcombe has received more than 25 fellowships and honors during his 40 years in education. He served on the Florida Articulation Coordinating Committee for 19 years and is a strong advocate for international education, having served three terms as national chairman of the College Consortium for International Studies. He also has served on the boards of many community groups and was a torchbearer for the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta.
UF College of Education alumnus Brian Dassler (MEd ‘02, English Education) has been named the Florida Department of Education’s deputy chancellor of education quality for the Division of K 12 Public Schools.
Dassler received the college’s Young Alumni Award two years ago and also is pursuing an Ed.D. degree in educational leadership at UF He is considered by many to be an emerging thought leader in his field. He has co-authored several opinion columns on important education issues for the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times.
Dassler said he hopes his new position will enable him to make an impact on the quality of public education in Florida.
“Florida’s children deserve a skillful teacher in every subject, every year,” he said. “And we owe Florida teachers the preparation time and support necessary to deliver the quality of teaching that students deserve.”
He said his education at UF has helped him to prepare for his new challenge.
“I’m excited to advance an important agenda on behalf of students and educators,” Dassler said. “The ability to ask tough questions of myself and my colleagues — and to follow the answers wherever they may lead — is the critical thinking encouraged at UF.”
Linda Eldridge, Dassler’s doctoral faculty adviser who heads UF’s educational leadership program, said she isn’t surprised by his success.
“Brian has been a leader in every role he has undertaken,” Eldridge said. “He is one of the most outstanding doctoral students I’ve ever worked with in his field. His leadership ability will be an asset in his new role with (the Department of Education).
Dassler previously served as the chief academic officer at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and as principal at KIPP Renaissance High School, also in New Orleans. He was named Broward County Teacher of the Year in 2007 while at Stranahan High School in South Florida, and was recognized as the 2001 Florida College Student of the Year by Florida Leader magazine.
Dassler also has demonstrated his dedication to public education by serving on the FLDOE’s FCAT bias review and writing and design committees. During his UF education master’s studies, he was recognized as the 2001 Florida College Student of the Year by Florida Leader magazine.
MEDIA CONTACT / WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137 firstname.lastname@example.org
James May, a “double EduGator” with two advanced degrees from UF’s College of Education, was named one of this year’s Top 40 Innovators in Education by the national Center for Digital Education.
The center is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding.
May earned his bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature in 1993, his Master of Education in ESOL curriculum and instruction in 1999, and his doctorate in teaching and learning in 2007, all from the University of Florida.
He currently is a professor of English as a second language at Valencia College in Orlando, where he has pioneered the use of cell phones and computer-assisted learning in his classes. He is also the faculty fellow for innovation and technology at the college.
“We live in a world where just about everything that is known can be found by way of a quick Google or YouTube search,” May said. “Teachers who aren’t willing to embrace this digital reality are robbing future generations of what we could know tomorrow. Learning has become on-demand or just-in-time and our teaching methods should to adapt to this truth.”
For May, there is no one technology that serves as “the solution.” Instead, technologies like smart phones, Google Goggles, QR codes and Evernote (a note-taking and archiving app) provide him and his students with more efficient and engaging strategies that can be used to identify solutions to authentic problems.
“This technology allows me to model life-long learning strategies that students can use long after they have forgotten about me,” May said.
For example, May teaches his students how to use Google Chrome to perform voice, image and text searches and how Google Drive could be used for collaborating learning and writing.
“Professor May’s success stems from pushing boundaries and engaging both faculty and students through various technologies and innovative digital and communications strategies,” a Center for Digital Education spokesperson said.
To watch May in action, follow this link for a video by Valencia College.
May has been recognized in the past for his “eclectic” teaching strategies and use of technology in the classroom. In 2010, he was named the Association of Florida College’s Professor of the Year, and in 2011 he was selected as the CASE/Carnegie Foundation’s Florida Professor of the Year. In 2012, he won the Sloan Consortium Effective Practice Award for his presentation, “Cellphones in the Classroom: Collaborative or Calamitous?”
The University of Florida is honoring Arthur M. (Andy) Horne, a 1967 College of Education master’s graduate, with a 2013 UF Distinguished Alumnus Award
Horne, who earned his M.Ed. degree at UF in counselor education, was feted at the college’s recent, year-end recognition banquet and will receive the award May 4 at UF’s spring commencement ceremony.
Horne is a dean emeritus and former Distinguished Research Professor in counseling psychology at the University of Georgia College of Education. He made his mark in education, though, long before retiring in 2012 from his five-year deanship.
Horne was already known for his nearly three decades of research on troubled families and ways to prevent and deal with male bullying and aggressive behavior in schools. Just since 1999, he received more than $7 million in federal grant support to develop and steer the Bully Busters program, designed to reduce violence and bullying in middle schools. His popular 2006 book, Bully Prevention: Creating a Positive School Climate, resulted from that project.
At UF, Horne earned bachelor’s degrees in English education and journalism (1965) before receiving his master’s in counselor education. His first teaching job was at Howard Bishop Junior High in Gainesville. He received his Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University in 1971.
Horne was on the faculty and directed training in counseling psychology at Indiana State from 1971-89 before joining the Georgia faculty, where he headed the counseling psychology department and training program before becoming dean.
Among numerous leadership posts, Horne is past president of the American Psychological Association’s division of group psychology and group psychotherapy and is the current president of the Society of Counseling Psychology. He is a fellow in numerous divisions of the APA and the American Counseling Association.
Angel Rodriguez, a UF doctoral student in higher education leadership, recently received the R. Irene Craney Fischley Endowed Teaching Chair at Broward College in South Florida.
Rodriguez has been teaching science, including anatomy and physiology, biology, environmental science, and oceanography at Broward College since 1993. This is his second endowed teaching position at the college.
As an endowed teaching chair, Rodriguez will receive a $7,500 program stipend and a $2,500 professional development stipend. He was one of seven professors at Broward College to be selected for the honor.
In November, Rodriguez received Kappa Delta Pi’s C. Glen Hass Laureate Scholarship in Instructional Leadership. The $1,500 award is only given to applicants from the University of Florida doctoral program. Rodriguez was profiled last year by the College of Education as one of the “Six to Watch” students as recommended by UF education professors. In 2011, Rodriguez received the UF Presidential Service Award. He previously received the UF college’s Maxwell and Doris King Scholarship and this year the James L. Wattenbarger Scholarship, named for the former professor who helped create Florida’s community college system.
The UF College of Education has honored school psychology doctoral graduate Michael Sulkowski with its 2013 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Sulkowski, currently an assistant professor of school psychology at the University of Arizona, received his M.Ed. degree in 2007 and his Ph.D. diploma in 2011 from UF.
His rapid emergence as a high achiever and rising scholar became evident during his graduate coursework and has carried over into his professional life. While at UF, his dissertation research, investigating college students’ willingness to report threats of violence on campus, received wide coverage in the news media and scholarly publications and contributed to his receiving the College of Education’s 2011 outstanding graduate research award.
Sulkowski completed his predoctoral internship at Louisiana State and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of South Florida
At Arizona, he teaches classes on law and ethics in psychology, behavior modification and personality and social-emotional assessment.
His research focuses on how youth are affected by bullying, peer aggression and school violence. Corollary studies finds him exploring the role of bystanders on bullying and aggression. He also is interested in increasing schools’ mental health services and improving students’ emotional well-being through effective interventions.
His clinical specialties include assessing and treating childhood mood, anxiety, tic, obsessive-compulsive spectrum and disruptive behavior disorders.
The UF Alumni Association honored Sulkowski and other college Young Alumni Award winners April 6 at a ceremony on campus.
University of Florida College of Education alumnus Jason Gallant was recently appointed the chief psychologist at Boys Town Central Florida’s new Behavioral Health Clinic.
Boys Town is a national nonprofit child-care agency that provides treatment through a continuum of services for children and families’ behavioral, emotional and physical problems. The Central Florida campus clinic in Oveido offers, among its services, outpatient counseling for at-risk children under the age of 18.
Inspired by his mother, an elementary school teacher with a “genuine passion and enthusiasm for giving children the gift of knowledge,” Gallant pursued a degree in psychology and child development at Florida State University.
He then earned his master’s degree in 2007 and doctoral degree in 2011, both in school psychology from UF. He completed his pre-doctoral fellowship in behavioral pediatrics at the Boys Town national headquarters in Omaha, Neb. between August 2010 and July 2011 as he completed his dissertation. After graduating with his Ph.D., Gallant continued work at the Boys Town headquarters for a yearlong post-doctoral fellowship before assuming his new position at Boys Town Central Florida.
“The thought of being back in Florida, working for a first-rate organization like Boys Town, and to continue living out my passion of healing children and families is a dream come true,” Gallant said. “I really cannot express to you how appreciative I am of the College of Education’s school psychology faculty, staff and my fellow peers for helping me become the person and professional I am today.”
UF College of Education alumna Kassie Erenstoft was named the Dr. Theron Trimble Teacher of the Year among elementary school teachers by the Florida Council for the Social Studies.
The council is a professional organization of social studies educators aimed at promoting social studies instruction in the state.
Erenstoft graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the College of Education. She has been teaching at Spessard L. Holland Elementary School in Bartow, Fla., since 2006. In 2011, Erenstoft was a finalist for Brevard County’s Teacher of the Year award for her engaging and meaningful classroom techniques and her role in connecting teachers with best practices across the district.
Only America’s most exceptional teachers find themselves strolling through the White House discussing education policy with Vice President Joe Biden. COE alumnus Eric Grunden (MEd ’94, science education) recently got the VIP treatment from Biden and the White House staff after receiving the nation’s highest honor in the science teaching profession.
Grunden was one of 97 educators across the country to receive the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in a ceremony at the White House. The honor came with a certificate signed by President Obama, an all-expense-paid trip for two to the capital and a $10,000 stipend from the National Science Foundation. President Obama was scheduled to attend the ceremony but had to make an emergency trip to visit the victims of the Colorado wildfires.
“I had been to the White House before as a tourist, but this was special,” Grunden said. “We got to come in through the back entrance, and I got to meet Bo, the (Obama family) dog – all that was important, but it was nice to feel validated and meet other educators who think like me.”
The Presidential awards are given annually to one math and one science teacher in grades K-12 from each state based on the quality of instruction in their classrooms. Grunden thinks it’s his knowledge of chemistry and teaching skills he honed during his master’s degree coursework in science education at UF that made him stand out as an applicant.
“I think it’s more important to teach less content at a deeper level so students get an appreciation for the system. It’s like cooking: you can teach somebody a recipe, but understanding why you need to add sugar at that point or why you need to do this over low heat allows you to make your own recipes, and then you’re a chef,” Grunden said.
Grunden has been the science department chair at Raleigh (N.C.) Charter High School since 2000 but got his first teaching job at UF’s P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School after graduation from UF in 1993. He said he still draws on his experience at PKY because it was a small, innovative school much like the school he’s at now.
His science education professor at UF, Linda Jones, recommended Grunden for his first teaching position at P.K. Yonge and said chemistry class enrollment at the school soared after he began teaching.
“He taught chemistry like a magician or showman,” Jones said. “Students don’t even realize they’re in a chemistry class because they’re having so much fun.”
Jones said Grunden, who has been a contestant on the TV game show “Jeopardy!,” is the second UF education alumnus to win the Presidential Award – the first was her husband, Griffith Jones, a master science teacher with the College of Education’s UFTeach program, who won in 1998.
Grunden describes his teaching style as Socratic because he believes having students ask questions of themselves helps them realize what they already know and apply it to different situations.
“Our students are very sophisticated,” Grunden said. “I look at the things they do every day with technology, and I think, ‘if they can do that, they can do this, too.’”
With 17 years of teaching experience,, his latest venture is founding a science-and-mathematics-focused charter school in Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, which opened in mid-August with 160 new freshmen. The high school’s neighbors include science and engineering giants such as GlaxoSmithKline to give students opportunities for interaction and internships, much like his nonprofit, the Contemporary Science Center, that places teens in day-long field trips giving them a firsthand look at what scientists do on a daily basis.
“I never wanted to be anything other than a classroom teacher, and when the board of directors asked me to be the school leader, I reluctantly accepted. Since then, I’ve realized that this is a lot of fun, so I don’t know where this is going to take me,” Grunden said. “I’d like to see this school go for a while, certainly through the first graduating class, but who knows after that?”
Professor Jones said it’s like Grunden to leave you guessing.
“You never know what’s going to come next with Eric, but, whatever it is, it turns to gold.”
WRITER: Jessica Bradley, student intern, news & communications, UF College of Education
MEDIA RELATIONS: Larry Lansford, director, news & communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137; email@example.com
Christopher M. Mullin (PhD ’08, higher education) has received the 2012 Barbara K. Townsend Emerging Scholar Award from the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC). The annual award recognizes a scholar for writing an outstanding research publication that contributes to the professional body of knowledge about community colleges.
Mullin was cited for a series of articles about the student body and future of community colleges published between October 2011 and April 2012 by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). He is the program director for policy analysis of the AACC in Washington, D.C., where he conducts research and analysis to guide advocacy efforts for the organization.
UF’s Institute of Higher Education also honored Mullin as an Outstanding Graduate earlier this year.
CCSC, a division of the AACC, is a council of university researchers and community college professionals who work to advance the development and scholarship of community colleges. Mullin received the award at the council’s recent annual conference in Orlando.
After submitting a top-rated research article, recent College of Education doctoral graduate Stephanie Dodman (PhD ’11, curriculum and instruction) has been awarded a Special Interest Group Scholarly Award by the American Educational Research Association, a national interdisciplinary research association with about 25,000 professionals in the field.
Dodman, an elementary education assistant professor at George Mason University, was recognized for her dissertation-based paper by the School Effectiveness and School Improvement Special Interest Group (SIG), a division of AERA that encourages members in school effectiveness and improvement specialties to conduct research, evaluate school programs and exchange ideas. Dodman also received a $300 check.
Her dissertation underlined the issue of accountability for chronically failing high-poverty schools, building on previous research findings that without strong internal conditions, schools will not improve. Dodman presented a case study of effective internal reform in an underachieving, high-poverty elementary school and presented a theory of school reform based on her findings.
After receiving her bachelor’s and M.Ed. degrees from UF in 2001 and 2002, respectively, Dodman taught in Florida public schools and worked on a team at UF’s Florida Museum of Natural History creating a science-literacy curriculum for Head Start. Dodman joined George Mason’s education faculty last fall after earning her doctorate at UF. In addition to teaching curriculum and instruction courses, she dedicates time to Westlawn Elementary in Virginia, where she is a Professional Development School university facilitator. She also works with a high-needs charter school in Washington, DC as part of a school improvement partnership effort.
The Council for Exceptional Children, the world’s largest international organization of special education professionals, recently awarded University of Florida alumnus Fred Spooner (PhD ’80, special education) its prestigious 2012 TED/Merrill Award for Excellence in Teacher Education.
The honor recognizes Spooner for a lifetime of research productivity, masterly teaching and inspirational leadership in the special education field and advocacy for children with disabilities. Spooner, a longtime professor in special education at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, received his Ph.D. degree in special education from UF in 1980 and also was awarded the College of Education’s 2008 Alumnus Achievement Award.
Spooner’s latest honor from the CEC comes from an organization with more than 45,000 members. He is a past president of the North Carolina teacher education division of the CEC. Spooner received the TED/Merrill Award at the CEC’s annual convention in Denver.
During his 31-year career at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Spooner has become known as one of the nation’s leading authorities on teaching students with significant disabilities. He has published six books and more than 90 refereed articles and his work has appeared in influential publications such as The Journal of Special Education, Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities and Exceptional Children.
His academic success led him to editorships at three of the nation’s leading special education journals: Teaching Exceptional Children, The Journal of Special Education and Teacher Education and Special Education. He has also been a pioneer in the use of online instruction to prepare special education teachers—work that has gained Spooner national attention and convinced various state agencies and universities to seek out his advice on online education.
WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news & communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137; firstname.lastname@example.org
UF’s new Innovation Academy, one of the nation’s most forward-looking undergraduate enrollment programs, didn’t have to look far for its inaugural director—hiring Jeffrey Citty (EdD ’11), a recent doctoral graduate in higher education from UF’s College of Education.
Citty, whose appointment took effect in March, is responsible for overall administration and leadership of the academy, collaborating with an advisory board.
Instead of taking traditional fall and spring courses, between 400 and 500 students admitted to the Innovation Academy will be on campus during the spring and summer terms, leaving each fall semester free for online courses, studying abroad, internships, creative problem-solving, community service and unique employment opportunities. The first class of academy students will enroll for the spring 2013 semester.
“This is an exciting and unique opportunity for students who want a little more out of their undergraduate experience,” Citty said. “It targets entrepreneurial-minded students looking for a nontraditional college route. The IA model also increases access to UF by expanding capacity during the spring and summer when more space is available.”
Citty was the College of Engineering’s student affairs assistant director in 2011 and coordinated its academic support services from 2003-2011. He oversaw all aspects of the engineering freshman transition program, focusing on recruitment and retention. In 2009, he was recognized by the National Academic Advising Association with an award for Outstanding Advising.
Dale Campbell, professor and interim director at the College of Education’s School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education, called Citty “a passionate, student-centered adviser.”
“I have no doubt that he‘ll be very successful working with other units and colleges on campus to help the Innovation Academy grow and succeed,” Campbell said. “He’s highly prepared to provide leadership for the program.”
WRITER: Nicole La Hoz, student intern, news & communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4449
MEDIA RELATIONS: Larry Lansford, director, news & communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137; email@example.com