, ,

Institute honors 11 alumni in higher ed administration

Flanked on far left by COE Dean Glenn Good and on far right by UF higher education administration program head Dale Campbell, the Outstanding Alumni award winners are, from left: Anne Kress, Jeanna Mastrodicasa, Devi Drexler, Kristy Presswood, Carl Hite, Tina O'Daniels, Deanne Williams, and Hank Dunn.

UF’s higher education administration program only selects its Outstanding Graduates every five years, so it’s a big deal when the winners are announced. That’s why officials at the UF Institute of Higher Education announced this year’s 11 recipients at a special gathering of their peers—at a special alumni reunion and awards banquet held concurrently on Jan. 28 with the annual gathering of the Community College Futures Assembly in Orlando.

The competitive awards program recognizes selected professionals—all Ph.D. or Ed.D. graduates of UF’s higher education administration program—for their effectiveness as community college administrators, participation in collegewide strategic planning, community involvement, and professional activities at the state, regional and national levels.

The UF alumni winners of 2012 were:

Devi Drexler, educational policy consultant with the Florida Department of Education division of accountability, research and measurement
Hank Dunn
, president of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (N.C.)
Carl Hite, president of Cleveland State Community College (Tenn.)
Anne Kress
, president of Monroe Community College (Rochester, NY)
Anna Lebesch, vice president for workforce development at St. Johns River State College (in Palatka, Fla.)
Jeanna Mastrodicasa, assistant vice president for student affairs, University of Florida
Christopher Mullin
, program director for policy analysis with the American Association of Community Colleges in Washington D.C.
Tina Barreiro O’Daniels, associate provost at the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College (Fla.)
Brian Polding, chair of the College of Information Systems and Technology, and the School of Business at North Florida campus of the University of Phoenix (in Jacksonville)
Kristy Presswood, associate vice president of the College of Education, Daytona State College (Fla.)
Deanne Williams, associate professor and chair, hospitality management department at Virginia State University (in Petersburg, Va.)

The recipients emerged from a pool of 30 nominees reviewed earlier in the month by a panel of leading higher education professionals from the CCFA organization.

Capsule summaries below highlight noteworthy achievements and honors of the winners:

Devi Drexler, PhD
Educational Policy Consultant
Florida Department of Education; Division of Accountability, Research and Measurement

At the Florida Department of Education, Dr. Drexler provides statewide analysis and information to support policy decisions of the deputy and commissioner of education, such as FCAT analysis and review. She’s worked in student affairs administration at several institutions including the University of Florida, FSU, Georgia Gwinnett, Santa Fe, Lake Sumter and Tallahassee Community Colleges. Drexler is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the Pi Lambda Theta International Honor Society.



Hank Dunn, EdD

President
Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College (N.C.)

Dr. Dunn has worked in community colleges for nearly 30 years, with 21 years in the Florida Community College System. At A-B Tech, he aligns budgets to the strategic plan, creates flexible learning formats and helped to pass a countywide sales tax worth $129 million to the college for repair, renovation and building of facilities. Dunn helped increase enrollment by 10,000 students in a four-year period in a past position at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana.



Carl Hite, PhD

President

Cleveland State Community College (Tenn.)

During his 15 years as president of Cleveland State Community College, Dr. Hite has made sure his college not only keeps pace with the tremendous changes occurring in higher education, but leads the way in implementing essential changes. CSCC is a past recipient of the prestigious Bellwether Award, received after the college’s redesigned math program was recognized by President Obama as a program that every American community college should replicate. Hite is leading efforts to scale up the redesign “across the curriculum.” Hite is president of the National Alliance of Community and Technical Colleges.



Anne M. Kress, PhD

President

Monroe Community College, Rochester, NY

Previously, as provost at Santa Fe Community College, Dr. Kress negotiated a faculty contract change, grew international programming and sustainability efforts, began the Center for Innovation and Economic Development, and moved SFC to a four-year degree. As the current president of Monroe Community College, fundraising has improved each year during the recession and MCC hosted the first event to raise over $100,000 in one evening. MCC has expanded its honors program and changed policies to improve student success and completion.



Anna M. Lebesch, EdD

Vice President for Workforce Development

St. Johns River State College (in Palatka, Fla.)

Dr. Lebesch has worked in higher education for over 15 years as a counselor, instructor and administrator. Last year, she implemented St. Johns River’s first bachelor of science degree in organizational management and helped garner a $1.9 million federal grant for the college’s nursing programs. She is a member of the Reaccreditation Leadership Team and the Institutional Planning Council. Lebesch is an active member of numerous Clay County associations and chairs the county’s economic development council.



Jeanna Mastrodicasa, PhD

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
University of Florida

In her current post, Dr. Mastrodicasa developed the UF Division of Student Affairs’ 2010-2015 strategic plan and submitted all materials for the SACS five-year accreditation review. She has made assessment an integrated part of the division’s work processes. In her previous position as associate director of the UF Honors program, she reorganized the university’s undergraduate research program and managed applications for Fulbright Scholars from UF. Mastrodicasa has co-authored a book about the millennial generation in the workforce and is serving her second three-year term as a Gainesville city commissioner.



Christopher Mullin, PhD

Program Director for Policy Analysis
American Association of Community Colleges (D.C.)

Dr. Mullin provides analysis and data to guide AACC’s advocacy efforts on causes such as federal student financial assistance and college costs and policies. He has written 30 policy documents, 10 peer-reviewed journal articles, four book chapters, and edited one book. Mullin serves on the advisory boards of the national Pathways to College Network, the National Education Finance Conference and the Gates Research Advisory Board of the Institute for Higher Education Policy.



Tina Barreiro O’Daniels, EdD

Associate Provost

St. Petersburg College, Tarpon Springs Campus (Fla.)

As the college’s No. 2 administrator, Dr. O’Daniels supports the provost in operating a 120-acre campus with 6,000 students at the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College. She serves as associate provost and also is chief student affairs officer and student dean, while participating in collegewide strategic planning and policy implementation. She is an editorial board member for the Council for the Study of Community Colleges and continues to serve as an executive coach and learning plan mentor for UF’s Institute of Higher Education.



Brian Polding, PhD

Chair, College of Information Systems and Technology, & School of Business
North Florida campus of the University of Phoenix

Dr. Polding, the North Florida campus 2011 Outstanding Employee, has chaired the School of Business for 11 years and also is acting director of academic affairs. He supervises eight faculty area chairs and 80 part-time faculty members and is a member of the university president’s academic cabinet. He also teaches and serves on doctoral dissertation committees. He has consulted with companies such as IBM and AT&T on the development of management training programs. Polding is a Supreme Court certified mediator for the Florida Family Courts.



Kristy Presswood, PhD

Associate Vice President, College of Education

Daytona State College (Fla.)

Dr. Presswood has worked in numerous divisions in her 18 years at Daytona State. She was instrumental in the early implementation of a campus computer network and an online student services system, and currently oversees adult education and the School of Education. The education school has a robust system of tracking all pre-service teachers, and Presswood’s future plans call for automating processes that will advance faculty advising, student tracking and field experience tracking for the school and college.



Deanne Williams, EdD

Associate Professor and Chair,
Hospitality Management Department
Virginia State University

Williams spearheaded the accreditation of VSU’s hospitality management program that led to its transition from program to department status. She also obtained grants to provide low-income students with scholarships, which had a direct effect on graduation rates. She also serves as an American Council on Education Internationalization committee member and launched the university’s first formal study-abroad curriculum. Williams is a member of the Petersburg Area Tourism Board and the National Advisory Board of the Disney College Program.


UF’s institute of Higher Education works closely with its affiliate colleges in offering continuing professional development opportunities for practitioners and conducting needed research in the field of higher education and community college administration.

The Community College Futures Assembly, now in its 18th year, convenes annually as an independent national policy forum for key opinion leaders to work as a “think tank” in identifying critical issues facing the future of community colleges. The group also conducts the nationally recognized Bellwether Awards to honor trend-setting community colleges.


CONTACTS

SOURCE: Dale Campbell, interim director, School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education, Uf College of Education, dfc@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4300.

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

,

ST. PETERSBURG TIMES: Brian Dassler (2002 alumnus)

ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
10-26-11
Brian Dassler (COE 2002 graduate)

COE graduate Brian Dassler (MEd “02, English Education) and David Colburn of UF’s Reubin Askew Institute co-authored a guest opinion column in the St. Petersburg Times urging policymakers not to embrace virtual schooling—especially for-profit virtual schools—as a cure-all for problems in public education.” Dassler is principal of a KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) High School in New Orleans.

,

’08 PhD graduate wins Initial Research Award

Todd Haydon, a 2008 UF doctoral graduate in special education, is one of two recipients of the second annual Ted Carr Initial Research Award, presented by the international Association for Positive Behavior Support.

Haydon is an assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Cincinnati. His research involves examining classroom management strategies that modify classroom environments (general education and self-contained classrooms) in order to decrease problem behavior and increase academic outcomes for students with emotional behavioral disorders.

The Carr award is named after a founding member of APBS. Haydon will be honored in March, 2012, at the APBS 9th international conference.

2005 alumna’s debut novel is ‘steamy affair’

Michelle (Thompson) Donice (Higher Ed Admin ‘05), a 2005 Ph.D. graduate in higher education administration and a former Holmes Partnership Scholar, published her debut novel, The Other Side of Through, in June.  The author explores one woman’s painful search for self against the backdrop of her crumbling marriage and a steamy affair that makes her want to leave it all behind. Available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (http://www.plenarypublishing.com/).

Donice in 2005 was one of three UF recipients of the prestigious Holmes Scholarship, which recognizes advanced-degree students of color for their character, academic standing and career goals in education. She previously graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in communications from Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach.  She lives in Ormond Beach with her husband and children and teaches English and creative writing.

She says she wrote The Other Side of Through after hearing so many women talk about marital issues.

,

UNC presents teaching award to UF special ed graduate

Melissa Miller (BAE ’93, MEd ’03, PhD ’07), a Triple EduGator with three UF degrees in education, received the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s 2011 Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction and Mentoring. She is an assistant professor of special education at UNC and coordinator of the special education-general curriculum program. Miller previously taught and worked as a research assistant at UF. (Read more in PDF, pg. 4: http://soe.unc.edu/news_events/slate/slate_spring11.pdf)

, ,

Businesswoman’s $1 million gift creates professorship in early childhood studies

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Entrepreneur Anita Zucker, a 1972 education graduate of the University of Florida, last year challenged fellow alumni who had never contributed to make an annual donation to the College of Education. Zucker, a 2010 recipient of UF’s Distinguished Alumni Award, sweetened the deal by matching such gifts dollar-for-dollar.

Today, Zucker is leading by example by pledging $1 million to create an endowed professorship in early childhood studies at the college. Her contribution will generate an additional $120,000 in funds from the Faculty Now incentive program established by UF President Bernie Machen to generate more faculty endowments. Zucker’s is the first gift made to the College of Education through the program.

Anita Zucker

The post’s formal name will be the Anita Zucker Endowed Professorship in Early Childhood Studies. College officials say they will fill the professorship with a top scholar in that academic specialty. Yearly interest earned on the gift will fund groundbreaking research, teaching and clinical programs conducted by the appointed scholar.

Zucker’s gift follows the creation of a new interdisciplinary Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies in December. The campuswide center is a model training, demonstration and research site where UF scholars—in fields as diverse as education, medicine, law, public health and the life sciences—work with local, state and national partners to advance the science and practice of early childhood development and early learning.

The Zucker professorship becomes the second endowed position in the College of Education’s early childhood studies program. World-class scholar Patricia Snyder occupies the David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies, created in 2007.

“Establishing this new interdisciplinary professorship, alongside the existing Lawrence chair, ensures that early childhood studies will remain a strong focus at the University of Florida, and a resource for the state and nation, for years to come,” said Snyder, who was instrumental in mobilizing the university’s top specialists in childhood education, health and well-being to create the new center for excellence.

Zucker is a former teacher, a lifetime education advocate, a history-making businesswoman, and one of Charleston, South Carolina’s leading citizens. She and her late husband, Jerry, received bachelor’s degrees from UF in 1972 — Anita in education and Jerry with a triple major in math, chemistry and physics. Anita taught elementary school for 10 years and also has a master’s in educational administration and supervision.

When Jerry Zucker died in 2008, Anita succeeded him as chief executive officer of the Hudson Bay Company, North America’s oldest company. She is the company’s first woman CEO. She also heads the family’s InterTech Group company, the North Charleston-based global conglomerate.

“The early childhood years are the most critical time for learning in a young person. That’s when they build their foundation and learn their vocabulary needs for life,” Zucker said. “Creating this professorship ensures the University of Florida will always have a top scholar who can prepare our future educators to teach our youngest children so they can succeed in school and life.”

She raised almost $100,000 last year in her Anita Zucker Alumni Challenge, including her dollar-for-dollar match of nearly $50,000. She says she hopes her latest gift inspires other large contributions to the College of Education.

“Education unlocks all doors for the future and we need to provide it to our young people to increase their chances for success,” Zucker said.


CONTACTS:
Source: Pat Snyder, 352-273-4291, patriciasnyder@coe.ufl.edu
Writer: Larry Lansford, 352-273-4137, llansford@coe.ufl.edu

,

Ex-athlete, Lastinger professor named COE Outstanding Young Alumni

An athlete-turned-educator and a rising star in an award-winning master-teacher training program at the University of Florida have been named the UF College of Education’s 2011 Outstanding Young Alumni.

The recipients are David Horton (PhD ’09), a former college baseball standout who now stands out as an instructor and researcher at Ohio University’s School of Education, and Philip Poekert (PhD ’08), a professor-in-residence for Miami programs at UF’s renowned Lastinger Center for Learning.

The UF Alumni Association established the Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2006 to recognize alumni who are 35 or younger and have distinguished themselves in their profession and community.

Here are profiles of the two 2011 recipients . . .

Poekert

Philip Poekert (PhD ’08)
Ph.D., curriculum and instruction, 2008, University of Florida College of Education

Poekert, a 2008 doctoral graduate of UF’s College of Education, is a clinical assistant professor in the college’s school of teaching and learning and a UF Lastinger for Learning professor-in-residence in Miami.  He began his teaching career in the South Bronx as a Teach for America instructor, but today he is a leader in two UF programs in south Florida that are on the cutting edge of education reform.

Poekert, 31, directs Ready Schools Miami, which partners UF’s Lastinger Center with Miami-Dade County schools and local community groups to ensure at-risk children enter school healthy and ready to learn. He also coordinates the center’s Florida Master Teacher Initiative, an on-the-job professional development and advanced degree program in education for teachers in Miami‐Dade and across the state. Poekert recently co-authored a successful $6 million federal grant to expand the Master Teacher initiative, offering a new degree track in early childhood education. His group was one of 49 winning applicants, beating out more than 1,600 others nationwide for a share of the stimulus funds.

“This is the area where we can generate the highest return,” Poekert said. “We can literally change the trajectory of children’s lives,” said Poekert, who previously taught in public schools in Oakland, Los Angeles and West Palm Beach before pursuing his UF doctoral degree.

The National School Reform Faculty organization recognizes Poekert as a national facilitator. His research includes evaluation studies of the impact of collaborative professional development on the instructional practice at the early childhood and elementary level. He has published in several national and international journals, including Teacher Education Quarterly and Professional Development in Education.


David Horton, Jr. (PhD ’09)
Ph.D., Higher Education Administration, 2009, University of Florida College of Education

Horto

Shortly after David Horton Jr. received his doctorate in higher education administration from UF in 2009, a search committee for Ohio University’s counseling and higher education department hired him as an assistant professor, impressed by his potential as an outstanding scholar.

Within two weeks of his appointment, the committee was proven right when Horton won the 2009 Outstanding Paper/Dissertation Award from the Southeastern Association for Community College Research (SACCR). He also was the SACCR’s featured speaker at its annual conference that year. Horton, who played baseball at the junior college and community college level in Texas, wrote his dissertation on the academic performance of community college athletes, a topic seldom studied. Research on college athletics typically focuses on four-year institutions.

At Ohio University, his teaching and research areas include the organization, governance and funding of higher education, multicultural development, diversity in higher education, the persistence of community college students, and the academic success of student-athletes.

Horton, 33, came to UF with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in history from Dallas Baptist University. During his doctoral studies, he worked as a recruiter and assistant in the College of Education’s office of outreach, recruitment and retention. He also received funding to attend the College Sports Research Institute’s annual meeting. He credits much of his success to his involvement in athletics, saying, “My participation in athletics taught me that hard work does pay off, and that you get out of life what you put into it.”


CONTACTS
WRITER:
Larry Lansford, director, news & communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137; llansford@coe.ufl.edu