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College honors five ‘outstanding’ students for 2014-15

Congratulations to UF ProTeach undergraduate students Shelby Boger and Madison Buchert, and graduate education students Julie Boker, Natalie King and Elizabeth Bettini, who will receive Outstanding Student Awards April 24 at the 2015 College of Education Recognition Dinner at the UF Hilton in Gainesville.

Undergraduate recipients were selected for their superior academic achievement and service to the college, university and community . . .

Madison Buchert

Madison Buchert

Outstanding Undergraduate Student
Unified Elementary ProTeach
Madison Buchert

Well organized and owner of a 3.72 GPA, Madison Buchert is on track to receive her bachelor’s degree in education in May and her master’s in education in 2016. Membership in Kappa Delta Pi, an international education honor society, has doubled since Madison became president one year ago. She also is an active member of the Florida Education Association, and served on the UF Student Advisory Council. Somehow, Madison found time to work as a substitute teacher and serve as a volunteer student mentor for the College of Education. She will intern at UF’s P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School next year.

Shelby Boger

Shelby Boger

Outstanding Undergraduate Student
Unified Early Childhood Education
Shelby Boger
Shelby Boger is a well-organized, detail-oriented senior who carries a 3.96 grade point average in the Unified Early Childhood program. She has been on either the Dean’s List or the President’s List all but one semester at UF, and expects to receive her bachelor’s degree in special education in May. Shelby has worked in various capacities — including substitute teaching — at seven public and private schools and child learning centers. She also supervised peer groups charged with security during athletic and special events at UF’s O’Connell Center, and is a former lifeguard and camp counselor with the YMCA.

Outstanding Graduate Student
Elizabeth Bettini
This award recognizes a graduate student who demonstrates outstanding scholarship and strong evidence of publications, professional presentations and professional development activities in support of the College of Education’s mission; also, service and leadership to the college, university and community . . . Elizabeth Bettini has bachelor of science and arts degrees (’04) from the University of California, San Diego, and a master’s in special education (’09) from the University of Arizona. She expects to earn her Ph.D. in special education this year. “Liz” draws the highest of praise from UF faculty members who see her as a valuable asset not only because of her quality research, but for her grant writing ability as well. She has presented at no fewer than 23 national conferences, and has eight peer-reviewed publications to her credit, along with four book chapters and three manuscripts that are under peer review.

Julie Bokor

Julie Bokor

Outstanding Graduate Student
Professional Practice
Julie Bokor
The Professional Practice Award recognizes a graduate student who demonstrates excellence in their research, publications, presentations, and professional activities in support of the College of Education’s mission. These students also provide valuable service and leadership to the University and community . . . After receiving bachelor’s degrees in zoology (’95) and microbiology and cell science (’98), Julie remained at UF, where she earned her master’s in science education before entering the COE’s doctoral program in curriculum and instruction. She holds a 3.95 grade point average and expects to receive her Ph.D. in 2016. Julie has been assistant director at the Center for Pre-collegiate Education and Training since 2010, where she also has served as an instructor and lecturer. Her research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and practitioner-oriented materials, and she has made several presentations at the national and international levels.

Natalie King

Natalie King

Outstanding Graduate Student
Natalie King

This award honors a graduate student who demonstrates outstanding scholarship, a commitment to service, and leadership for the college, university and community . . . Natalie King is a doctoral candidate who earned a bachelor’s degree in applied physiology and kinesiology (’09) and a master’s in special education (’11) from UF. She expects to receive her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction in May of 2016. Natalie is a Graduate School Fellow and the science education project associate for the University of Florida Unites Teachers to Reform Education in Science (U-FUTuRES) project. She has presented at numerous conferences locally and internationally, and has been published in several journals and a book. Natalie also has won UF’s Phyllis M. Meek Spirit of Susan B. Anthony and Graduate Student Mentoring awards.   

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Students, faculty team up on AERA’s ‘best’ research paper

When two UF College of Education professors recently teamed up with three graduate students, the multidisciplinary quintet developed a compelling research paper that can be referred to officially as “the best.”

HUGGINS, Anne (Aug 2012)_2 2

Corinne Huggins-Manley

Assistant professor of research and evaluation methodology Corinne Huggins-Manley and Albert Ritzhaupt, an associate professor of educational technology, along with three students — Krista Ruggles and Mathew Wilson (both in education technology) and Savannah Madley (research and evaluation methodology)— were chosen to receive the American Education Research Association’s 2015 Best Paper Award.

Their article was selected for the category of one of AERA’s special interest groups, “Technology as an Agent of Change in Teaching and Learning.” The authors will be recognized at the AERA annual meeting April 16-20 in Chicago.

Albert Ritzhaupt

Albert Ritzhaupt

Their winning paper, “Validation of the Survey of Preservice Teachers’ Knowledge of Teaching and Technology: A multi-institutional sample,” explores the accuracy of a measurement tool assessing Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK).

Research in this field is ongoing due to difficulties defining the boundaries of different TPACK knowledge areas.

“We hope the paper contributes to the advancement and refinement of TPACK theory to better mirror practice and how we measure it,” Huggins-Manley said.

Rizthaupt attributes the paper’s strength to its blending of expertise borrowed from several disciplines at the College of Education. His expertise lies in education technology, Huggins-Manley steered the research methods and the graduate students provided support in the research, analysis and writing of the winning paper.

“The college certainly nurtures research and collaboration,” Ritzhaupt said, “It’s this synergy that keeps people working and achieving.”

   SOURCE: Corinne Huggins-Manley, amanley@coe.ufl.edu and Albert Ritzhaupt, aritzhaupt@coe.ufl.edu
   WRITER: Candice Wynter, communications intern, UF College of Education; cwynter@ufl.edu
   MEDIA CONTACT: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137

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Special Ed’s Gage recognized as rising international scholar in emerging field

Nicholas Gage, a UF assistant professor in special education, has gained international recognition for his early-career research success and commitment to advancing the emerging science of positive behavior support.

N.-GageGage is one of two recipients of the 2015 Ted Carr Initial Research Award, presented by the international Association for Positive Behavior Support. The annual honor goes to emerging researchers whose work reflects conceptual sophistication, applied relevance and promise of substantial contribution to the field.

Gage was honored at the APBS International Conference in March.

Positive behavior support, or PBS, focuses on intervention strategies that are compassionate, productive and educationally oriented to help individuals develop constructive behaviors to meet their life goals in social relationships, employment, academic achievement, health and other areas.

Gage’s research is dedicated to helping all students succeed in school, focusing particularly on students at risk of, or receiving special education services for, emotional-behavioral disorders. He has specific expertise in statistical modeling, research design and methods, and functional behavioral assessment.

“I believe my research and service efforts will have a positive and lasting impact on the college’s relationship with local schools and schools statewide,” he said.

After he earned his Ph.D. in special education from the University of Missouri, Gage was an Institute of Education Sciences post-doctoral fellow with the Center for Behavioral Education and Research at the University of Connecticut, working on statistical and methodological advances in the emotional and behavioral disorders research field.

   SOURCE: Nicholas Gage, UF assistant professor in special education, UF College of Education; gagenicholas@coe.ufl.edu
   WRITER: Candice Wynter, communications intern, UF College of Education; cwynter@ufl.edu
   MEDIA CONTACT: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137

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Benedict joins growing list of special ed. students to win prestigious CEC research award

Amber Benedict1

Amber Benedict

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; llansford@coe.ufl.edu; phone 352-273-4137.
Writer: Stephen Kindland, College of Education Office of News and Communications; skindland@coe.ufl.edu; phone 352-273-3449

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Math educator grant aids ProTeach senior Rachel Andrews

Rachel3 5x7

UF ProTeach senior Rachel Andrews

The Florida Council of Teachers of Mathematics has given UF ProTeach senior Rachel Andrews a Lichtenberg Pre-service Educator Grant that will cover up to $500 of her costs when she attends the council’s fall conference in Palm Harbor.

“Grants like this are out there, so I tell everyone to keep their eyes open,” said Andrews, who wants to teach math after she receives bachelor’s degree in elementary education in May and a master’s degree a year later.

Andrews, who will be introduced with four other grant recipients during the 62nd annual conference Oct. 23-25, received the award based on her 3.92 grade point average, volunteer work at Gainesville elementary schools and a solid endorsement from UF math education doctoral candidate Rhonda Williams.

“She is a very bright student and has a passion to work with elementary children,” Williams wrote of Andrews, who grew up in Wesley Chapel, Fla. “She continually seeks out opportunities that will help her grow professionally.”

Andrews is an executive board member of the UF chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society and spoke at the Aligning of the Stars education conference in Pasco County two years ago.

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Ed. Leadership alum honored as nation’s top principal

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.

Jayne Ellspermann

Jayne Ellspermann

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.



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ACA taps rising leaders from UF counselor education

Two up-and-coming leaders from the COE’s counselor education program—a faculty member and an alumni doctoral fellow—have assumed key leadership positions with the American Counseling Association (ACA).

Sandi Logan, left, and Jacqueline Swank pose for “selfies” on Capitol Hill while attending the ACA Institute for Leadership Training.

Sandi Logan, left, and Jacqueline Swank pose for “selfies” on Capitol Hill.

Jacqueline Swank, assistant professor in counselor education, has been elected president of the Association for Creativity in Counseling, an ACA division dedicated to providing understanding of diverse and creative approaches to counseling. She is well known for her service on several professional committees and organizations and as a dedicated mentor for graduate students.

Sandi Logan, an alumni fellow in school counseling, was named by the Florida Counseling Association as its graduate student representative to the ACA. Prior to pursuing her doctorate in 2012, Logan worked as a counselor in elementary and middle schools in California for five years.

 Swank and Logan appear to share a similar passion for leadership. The pair participated recently in the ACA’s Institute for Leadership Training in Washington, D.C. and also joined more than 130 other ACA attendees on Capitol Hill in meeting with their senators and representatives to discuss mental health issues and advocate for counselors. 

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Early-childhood education scholars join UF Institute for Child Health Policy

Patricia Snyder

Patricia Snyder

Patricia Snyder and Maureen Conroy, the director and co-director, respectively, of the UF Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies (based at the College of Education), have been named affiliate faculty members of the College of Medicine’s Institute for Child Health Policy. The institute focuses on disparities in health and health care outcomes for minority and underserved children and develops strategies and interventions to address these issues.

“The Institute for Child Health Policy has been a collaborative partner with the Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies since the center’s founding in 2010,” said Snyder, a professor of special education and early childhood studies and also an affiliate professor of pediatrics. “In the context of the UF Preeminence Initiative, being an affiliate faculty member will further strengthen existing collaborations and advance interdisciplinary doctoral and post-doctoral preparation as well as research, policy and the dissemination of evidence-informed practices in early childhood studies.”

Maureen Conroy

Maureen Conroy

Snyder, who is also the David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies, and Conroy, a professor of special education and early childhood studies, were among a total of nine professors representing six departments across UF’s campus to be selected as affiliate faculty members. They were chosen based on their interest and expertise in child health as well as on existing collaborations with faculty in the institute.

“Becoming an affiliate faculty member will help to increase our interdisciplinary collaborative work to assure optimal growth, learning and development for all young children,” Conroy said.

The affiliate faculty members are joining a team of 17 faculty researchers, who garnered $12 million in funding this past year from the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other funding agencies. 

Benefits of affiliate membership, which is reviewed each year, include participation in a yearly research day and reception, communication about funding and networking opportunities and eligibility for pilot study and pre-doctoral funding.

“Our affiliate faculty program is very important and provides a supportive environment where colleagues dedicated to child health can come together, share resources and push one another to think out of the box regarding how to address the critical disparities in children’s health,” said Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Child Health Policy and chair of the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy.

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SPC honors EduGator alumna-donor Helen Gilbart

GILBART--Don and Helen (crppd) - Version 2St. 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, mmartin@coe.ufl.edu, 352-273-4140
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education

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Spirt of Susan B. Anthony Award fit for a King

Natalie King (left) and Rose Pringle, King's faculty adviser, work together on a science project.

Natalie King (left) and Rose Pringle, King’s faculty adviser, work together on a science project.

The University of Florida Women’s Leadership Council has selected COE doctoral student Natalie King to receive this year’s Phyllis M. Meek Spirit of Susan B. Anthony Award, which recognizes a female student who promotes the rights and advancement of women at UF and beyond.

King’s COE curriculum adviser couldn’t be more proud of the former high school science teacher.

“Natalie’s amazing,” said Rose Pringle, associate professor in the COE’s School of Teaching and Learning. “She’s exceptionally motivated and she exemplifies everything the award stands for.” 

The annual Spirit of Susan B. Anthony Award goes to a young woman at UF who best represents courage, confidence, leadership and dedication — qualities that defined Anthony, an early 1800s schoolteacher who later led the women’s suffrage movement. The award is given in honor of Phyllis Meek, a former UF associate dean for student services, assistant professor of education and former president of the Gainesville Commission on the Status of Women.

King, who gave birth to her second child just three days before the award was presented recently during a Women’s History Month awards reception at the UF President’s Housesaid she felt honored but took the recognition in stride.

“So many individuals have helped me throughout my life,” she  said. “That’s why I make a point of serving my community; it’s my way of saying ‘thank you.”

King taught biology and chemistry for three years at Eastside High School in Gainesville before entering the COE’s Ph.D. program in 2012. She said she spent a great deal of time motivating some students and “just as much time keeping up with motivated students” in her International Baccalaureate classes.

King is on track to receive her doctorate in curriculum and instruction by August of 2016.

“That’s my drop-dead date,” she said with a laugh. “My husband and I have two boys now. I’ve got my work cut out for me.”

She previously received the 2013 Graduate Student Mentoring Award, given by UF’s I-Cubed program, for helping other students succeed in their undergraduate or graduate studies or in K-12 classrooms.

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International group honors Special Ed researcher for 2nd straight year

Mary Brownell

Mary Brownell

GAINESVILLE, Fla.—For the second consecutive year, University of Florida special education professor Mary Brownell has been chosen to receive a top honor from the Council for Exceptional Children, the world’s largest advocacy organization for students with special needs.

Brownell will receive the Kauffman-Hallahan Distinguished Researcher Award, to be presented by the CEC’s Division for Research at the council’s annual conference April 11 in Philadelphia. The award, which includes a $1,000 stipend, recognizes special education researchers whose work yields more effective services or education for exceptional individuals.

Brownell is recognized internationally as a leading scholar and policy expert in special education and teacher preparation. While the CEC honors her this year for her research, the council’s Teacher Education Division last year gave her its Pearson Excellence in Teacher Education Award. The CEC is the largest international professional organization for special educators, with more than 30,000 members.

“Mary is the premier scholar of teacher quality issues in special education,” wrote top special education researchers Donald Deshler of the University of Kansas and David Houchins of Georgia State University in jointly nominating Brownell for the CEC honor. “Her work has had enormous impact on the way teacher educators think about educating special education teachers and state policy and practice in educating teachers for students with disabilities.”

Brownell’s research has focused on improving the quality of teachers serving students with disabilities, including the advancement of literacy instruction among special education teachers, and studies on the induction and mentoring of beginning special educators.

She is the UF College of Education’s top-funded researcher. After more than two decades at UF, her scholarly productivity and international reputation have helped the University of Florida consistently rank among the top 10 special education programs in the nation. 

“Developing a serious research agenda focused on teacher quality issues and engaging other scholars and doctoral students in that agenda is of great important to me,” Brownell said.

In 2013, Brownell, with UF co-researchers Paul Sindelar and Erica McCray, received a federal award worth $25 million—the college’s largest grant ever—to create and lead a national  CEEDAR Center (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform) at UF. The researchers are working with multiple states in restructuring and improving their teacher preparation programs and policies in special education.

Funded with $800,000 by the federal Office of Special Education Programs, Brownell and colleagues also are addressing the scarcity of research on teacher quality issues in special education. Their grant has supported four doctoral students over four years in their pursuit of new innovations for preparing special educators.

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   SOURCE: Mary Brownell, professor of special education, UF College of Education, mbrownelle@coe.ufl.edu, 352-273-4261

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

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PhD candidate in elite company after winning national honor for aiding exceptional children


Crystal Crowe Bishop, a University of Florida doctoral candidate in special education, joined some illustrious company with College of Education ties after receiving the 2013 J. David Sexton Doctoral Student Award from the Division for Early Childhood of the international Council for Exceptional Children.

Bishop joins a growing line of UF EduGators who have previously received the annual Sexton honor, which recognizes a doctoral student who has made significant contributions to young children with special needs and their families through research, higher education, publications, policy, and information dissemination. The award is named for J. David Sexton, who was a revered mentor and leader in the field of early intervention and early childhood special education.

Previous Sexton award recipients with links to UF’s nationally-ranked special education program include alumna Tara McLaughlin (honored in 2010), who now works as a senior lecturer at Massey University in New Zealand; alumnus Brian Boyd (2004), now on the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill faculty; and Patricia Snyder (1991), director of the Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies who holds the David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies. Snyder is Bishop’s doctoral adviser and also studied under Sexton while pursuing her own Ph.D. degree at the University of New Orleans.

The Council for Exceptional Children, which sponsors the award, is the world’s largest advocacy organization for students with disabilities.

“I first heard about this award when I was only a few months into my doctoral program, and I remember thinking ‘I hope I can be that kind of scholar someday,’” said Bishop, who hopes to find a post-doctoral research position after her graduation. “To receive the award is an affirmation of my commitment to this work, but it also motivates me to continue to make important contributions to the field.”

Working as a graduate research assistant at UF’s CEECS, Bishop’s focus is in improving instruction in early childhood settings, including strengthening the professional capacity of leadership personnel. Bishop is also investigating how early childhood policies are translated and enacted into practice.

She first became interested in helping children with disabilities as a youth worker in a group home for adolescents who had hearing impairments. Later, she became a teacher for infants and toddlers at an all-inclusive preschool, where she worked with children with special needs. One child’s parent, Barb Best, who nominated Bishop for the award, said Bishop was “more than ‘just a teacher’” to her students.

“Without a doubt, I would entrust her with my children’s lives,” Best wrote in her recommendation letter for Bishop.

Since then, Bishop has received her master’s degree in human development counseling from Vanderbilt University. Throughout her graduate studies, she has also been involved in several research projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. Further, Bishop has authored a number of academic articles, book chapters, and presentations related to her research interests.

Bishop’s commitment to serving young children through her research, policy work, and teaching experiences has left a lasting imprint. According to Snyder, her doctoral adviser, Bishop “exemplifies the essence” of the J. David Sexton Doctoral Student Award.

“Crystal embodies many of the scholarly and interpersonal characteristics that David possessed and that he valued in others,” Snyder said. “He would be proud that Crystal is a part of his extended ‘academic’ family.”

Bishop will receive the award Oct. 18 at the Division for Early Childhood’s annual international conference in San Francisco.

   WRITER: Alexa Lopez, news and communications office, UF College of Education; aklopez@coe.ufl.edu 

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UF special ed professor honored as distinguished alum

UF special education professor Linda Lombardino recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio State University’s Department of Speech and Hearing Science. 

LOMBARDINO, LindaLombardino graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing education in 1971 and a Ph.D. in speech-language pathology in 1978. The award recognizes alumni who have make significant contribution to the profession of speech-language pathology. 

At the University of Florida, Lombardino is a special education professor at the College of Education. Previously, she was a professor of speech-language pathology at UF’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders for 30 years.

Her area of specialization is developmental dyslexia. She previously served as the director of UF’s Dyslexia Clinic during which she trained graduate students in the differential diagnosis of reading difficulties.

In 1998, Lombardino was named an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)  Fellow. She also received the ASHA Editor’s Award for an article of highest merit in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. She recently completed a book, The Multidimensional Model for Assessing Reading and Writing Disorders, published by Delmar/Cengage Press.

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College honors year’s outstanding graduate students

COE associate deans Tom Dana (left) and Thomasenia Adams (right) flank the college's Outstanding Graduate Student Award recipients (from left) Rachel Wolkenhauer, Kiwanis Burr and Amber Benedict at the college's recent Recognition Dinner.

COE associate deans Tom Dana (left) and Thomasenia Adams (right) flank the college’s Outstanding Graduate Student Award recipients (from left) Rachel Wolkenhauer, Kiwanis Burr and Amber Benedict at the college’s recent Recognition Dinner.


Congratulations to Rachel Wolkenhauer, Kiwanis Burr and Amber Benedict, selected as 2013 Outstanding Graduate Students at UF’s College of Education.

The winners hail from the doctoral degree programs in curriculum and instruction, higher education administration and special education, respectively. Their mini-profiles below show why they were selected:

Outstanding Graduate Student – Research
Rachel Wolkenhauer
Rachel is a doctoral student in curriculum and instruction, as well as a graduate of the College of Education’s Teacher Leadership for School Improvement master’s degree program. For the past two years, she has also served as the graduate assistant and teacher in residence at the Lastinger Center for Learning. Rachel is highly esteemed by her superiors for her leadership, talents and contributions regarding research about teacher preparation and professional development. She has had a role in numerous publications, presentations and professional development activities. Rachel has also maintained a high GPA throughout these experiences and consistently exceeds expectations in her coursework. 

Outstanding Graduate Student – Leadership
Kiwanis Burr

Kiwanis is a doctoral student in higher education administration. She is committed to promoting social justice and equity, starting on the University of Florida’s campus. Through her service and leadership, Kiwanis has made an impact on the University Minority Mentor Program, which aims to encourage its minority or first-generation college students to complete a college degree. As program coordinator of the program, Kiwanis has improved its group activities and student retention rate. Her dedication to serving underrepresented youth is also mirrored in her continued service to the College of Education diversity initiatives.

Outstanding Graduate Student – Professional Practice
Amber Benedict

Amber is a doctoral student in special education. After years of experience in special education classrooms, Amber was moved to support current special education teachers through research, curriculum planning and professional development opportunities. She began her work through UF’s Literacy Learning Cohorts, a project aimed at helping special education teachers in Alachua and Clay counties better teach language alongside the core reading curriculum, as well as to increase intervention to students with disabilities. Later, Amber began a professional development project with third- and fourth-grade general and special education teachers in Clay County. Amber’s extraordinary work and leadership within these programs has made a significant impact on the practices of the teachers with whom she worked, as well as their students.

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Ed tech’s Kara Dawson doubles up on UF honors for research, mentoring

If recognition from her peers and students is any indication, 2012-13 was a banner academic year for Kara Dawson, UF associate professor in education technology, who has received two top university-wide awards for her research innovations and mentoring of doctoral students.

DAWSON, Kara (2013, crppd)Dawson was one of 34 faculty named by the University of Florida Research Foundation as UFRF Professors for 2013-2016.  The honor goes to faculty who have a distinguished current record of research and a strong research agenda that is likely to lead to continuing distinction in their fields.

She also is one of five recipients of UF’s Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentoring Award, a tribute to her dedication and high standards of excellence in her support of graduate education and her sponsorship of student research.

A natural mentor 

Former students describe Kara Dawson as a natural mentor, always ready to troubleshoot any problem and quick to offer encouragement.

Wendy Drexler, now director of online development at Brown University, said she did not realize how special her relationship with her advisor was until her final semester of doctoral work, when she collaborated with doctoral students in other departments.

“It soon became clear that I had a very special advisor who was mentoring me to become a successful future faculty member,” Drexler said.

Drexler said Dawson helped her refine her skills and get exposure for her scholarly work. In fact, Dawson has co-authored more than 25 refereed articles and book chapters with her doctoral students, and all of her doctoral students have presented at conferences.  Drexler said she credits Dawson with preparing her for the leadership position she is in today.

Dawson said she makes a point of encouraging students to seek the advice and guidance of other faculty members and colleagues, in stark contrast to the historical one-to-one model of the student-mentor relationship. 

“I believe students should take full advantage of all the talent and resources around them,” Dawson said.

Elizabeth Bondy, professor and director of the School of Teaching and Learning, said Dawson’s skill as a problem-solver helps her students navigate the challenging terrain of doctoral study. Dawson, she said, is a model mentor.

“She is available. She is determined,” Bondy said.

The mentoring award comes with a $3,000 salary stipend and $1,000 to use in support of her graduate students

A research innovator 

On the research side, Dawson and the other UFRF Professors were recommended for the honor by their college deans based on nominations from their department chairs. They had to show demonstrated evidence of recent research accomplishments as evidenced by publications in scholarly journals, external funding, honors and awards, development of intellectual property and other measures appropriate to their field of expertise.

 “It is this selection by their peers that makes the UFRF Professors so special,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “It is the work of these faculty and their colleagues across campus that has moved UF into the top tier of public research universities nationally.”

Dawson studies the innovative ways that technology can impact teaching and learning in K-12 classrooms, higher education and virtual schooling. Not only is she preparing UF teaching students for the increased role that online learning is playing in contemporary education, she’s also working to make educational technologies a pervasive part of the learning experience in all public school classrooms. 

She belongs to a statewide council of education technology leaders from school districts and recently led a study of the impact on student achievement and teaching practices of the federal grant entitlement program known as Enhancing Education through Technology, part of the No Child Left Behind program. The research involved nearly 1,800 teachers in nearly 300 schools within 33 Florida districts.

Dawson also focuses part of her work on the practices and impact of online teaching and learning in higher-education settings. She helped develop one of the first online professional-practice doctoral degree programs in the nation and has published several research articles on the program.

The prestigious three-year UFRF award she received includes a $5,000 annual salary supplement and a one-time $3,000 grant. UFRF professorships are funded from the university’s share of royalty and licensing income on UF-generated products.


   SOURCE:  Kara Dawson, associate professor, education technology, UF College of Education, dawson@coe.ufl.edu, 352-273-4177
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137

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Counselor ed graduate receives UF distinguished alumnus award

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.

UF Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient Andy Horne poses with COE senior development director Maria Martin at the college's recent Recognition Dinner.

UF Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient Andy Horne poses with COE senior development director Maria Martin at the college’s recent Recognition Dinner.

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. 

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ESOL professor picked for Fulbright study in Ukraine

Maria Coady, a UF associate professor of ESOL and bilingual education, will embark on a 42-day research trip in Ukraine on March 10 as part of the Fulbright Specialist Program.

Coady will study teacher education and English language development at the Ukrainian Pedagogical Institute’s English language department. She will also lead workshops on second language learning and teaching for the institute’s students and teachers from local schools, and observe English teachers in Ukraine’s public schools and provide feedback.

“I hope to understand how teachers are prepared to teach English in state [public] schools, the challenges they face, and to identify local solutions to facilitate students’ learning of English,” Coady said.

Fulbright is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. The Fulbright Specialists Program provides short-term academic opportunities to prominent university faculty and professionals who are part of the Fulbright Scholars Program. Fulbright will pay Coady a stipend for her work and will cover her work-related expenses on the trip.

“I have traveled internationally for work to South America and Europe, but I have not done work in Eastern Europe before,” said Coady, who has been a Fulbright Specialist for 18 months. “It’s exciting and a wonderful opportunity to build partnerships around the world.”


CCFA Bellwether Awards fete top community college innovators

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL—The Community College Futures Assembly has announced the winners of its highly competitive, 19th annual Bellwether Awards at the group’s 2013 policy summit in Orlando.  The Bellwether Awards recognize outstanding community college programs, mainly in the United States and Canada, judged to be at the forefront of innovation and worthy of replicating.

This year’s winners are: Elgin Community College (Elgin, ILL) in the Instructional Programming and Services category, Piedmont Technical College (Greenwood, SC) in the Planning, Governance and Finance category, and Chattanooga State Community College (Chattanooga, TN) in the Workforce Development category.

Dale Campbell, professor and head of the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Florida’s College of Education, founded the CCFA and the Bellwether Awards in 1995. The institute continues to administer the awards program.

“In more than 1,200 national community colleges, this is one of the highest honors an institute can receive. The awards are similar to being selected by your peers, comparable to the Oscar or Emmy awards,” Campbell said. “Leaders from the winning institution are often hired or recruited by other colleges to replicate the award-winning program. They also receive thousands of phone calls and hundreds of visits to help others replicate the success of their program in other community colleges and institutions.”

The Bellwether Awards’ Instructional Programs and Services category recognizes programs or services that have been designed and successfully implemented to foster or support teaching and learning in the community college. Elgin Community College presented a project called “One school can do so little; together we can do so much.” They cited statistics showing that since 2006 the percent of direct-from-high school graduates at Elgin Community College needing remediation has decreased 8 percent overall, and 10 percent in mathematics because of faculty-centered school district partnerships. This project replicated an Alliance for Readiness meeting by providing opportunities to interact with data, ask questions, and transcend educational boundaries.” For more information on this project please contact: Dr. Libby Roeger, Dean, College Transitions & Developmental Education (847) 214-7463 fax (847) 214-7818 E-mail: eroeger@elgin.edu

The Planning, Governance, and Finance category recognizes programs or activities that have been designed and successful y implemented to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the community college. Piedmont Technical College presented a project called “LEAN in Higher Education: How it Continues to Change Our Culture.” The project created better customer service by becoming LEAN to better record student enrollments through more efficient processes.  After winning, the team had this to say (on video): http://youtu.be/wfVuenmdEfM. For more information, contact: Keith Lasure, Associate Vice President of Process Development, Dean Engineering & Industrial Technology, lasure.k@ptc.edu.

The Workforce Development category recognizes programs that create public or private strategic alliances and partnerships that promote community and economic development. Chattanooga State Community College presented a project called “The Wacker Institute: Diplomas with Job Offers!” Chattanooga State has teamed with Wacker Polysilicon-North America to create the Wacker Institute. This innovative program, which includes working in a chemical pilot plant, allows graduates in Chemical Engineering Technology to leave with their diploma in one hand and a job offer from Wacker Chemical in the other. For more information, contact: George Graham, Department Director, Wacker Institute & Dept. Head, Chemical Engineering Technology, George.Graham@ChattanoogaState.edu.

The featured keynote address was presented by Leslie Crutchfield, Senior Advisor at the Foundation Strategy Group and co-author of the critically acclaimed book “Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Non-Profits.”

This year’s policy summit was led by Thomas Bailey, Ph.D., Director of the Community College Research Center (ccrc.tc.columbia.edu) with his remark on “Scaling Innovation: Research on the Promising Practices in Developmental Math Education.” J. Noah Brown, Ph.D. president of the Association of Community College Trustees (Acct.org) also provided a session showcasing his new book “First in the World: Community College and America’s Future.” Together the lessons from the speakers and keynote address served as the basis for introspection, strategic decision making, selecting critical issues, and directing policy creation for distribution to key administration and community college oversight board of directors including the Department of Education, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC), the National State Directors of Community Colleges, the National Council for Continuing Education and Training (NCCET), the Council for Resource Development (CRD), the National Council of Instructional Administrators (NCIA), the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), the Academic Chairs Academy as well as legislators and key policy makers.

The Community College Futures Assembly convenes annually as an independent policy summit to identify critical issues facing community college leaders and to recognize Bellwether finalists as trend-setting institutions. Annually, between 100 and 500 applications are received from around the world. Peer-reviewed committees judge entries in each of the three categories to select ten finalists to go to Lake Buena Vista to present and showcase their projects. The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT.org) oversees the judging process while, the Council for Resource Development (CRDnet.org) sponsors and provides the peer review judging for the Planning, Governance, and Finance (PGF) category, and the National Council for Continuing Education and Training (NCCET.org) sponsors and provides the peer review judging for the workforce development (WD) category. In almost two decades there have been thousands of applicants but only 55 winning projects honored programs with the Bellwether Award.

Source:  Dale Campbell, Institute of Higher Education, UF College of Education, dfc@coe.ufl.edu, 352-273-4300.


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UF education researchers recognized at state research conference

Several University of Florida education researchers were honored at this year’s Florida Educational Research Association annual meeting, hosted last month by the College of Education at UF’s Hilton Conference Center Hotel.

Walter Leite, an associate professor of research and evaluation methodology (REM), and his research assistant Francisco Jimenez, a Ph.D. student, received the conference’s Distinguished Paper Award. They were recognized for their paper evaluating the effects of the Teacher Leadership for School Improvement (TLSI) degree program offered for prekindergarten through 12th-grade teachers. The graduate program is a joint project of the college’s School of Teaching and Learning and the UF Lastinger Center for Learning.

Leite and Jimenez developed statistical models following 10 years of performance by 78 third- through fifth-grade teachers’ who are currently enrolled or graduated from the program. They compared the teachers’ effects on students they had taught prior to their TLSI coursework to their effects after joining the program.

The study revealed that the students exposed to these teachers had improved their FCAT math and reading scores, and reduced their school absences.

“The most important finding of our study is that the TLSI program, which is unique to the College of Education and the Lastinger Center, is positively affecting schools,” Leite said. “It also shows that the work done by the college and Lastinger Center matters.”


Also recognized at the conference was professor Mirka Koro-Ljungberg, who received the Educational Researcher of the Year award for her contributions to educational research. Koro-Ljungberg is a professor in REM. In the past two years, she has authored or co-authored 11 peer-reviewed papers.

For Koro-Ljungberg, a qualitative researcher, the award came as a surprise because quantitative research is often seen as dominant, she said. Qualitative research is the practice of analyzing personal and narrative accounts, such as interviews, focus groups, observations, artifacts and oral histories. On the other hand, quantitative research often involves larger samples and relies on numbers and statistics.

“I hope this will motivate people to do more and present more qualitative research in the future,” she said.

Others honored at the meeting were UF doctoral students Kristi Cheyney (in special education), Nicole Jean-Paul (school psychology) and Jean Theurer (REM), who received awards for the best overall project posters.

For more information about the Florida Educational Research Association, visit feraonline.org.

SOURCE: Walter Leite, 352-273-4302, walter.leite@coe.ufl.edu
SOURCE: Mirka Koro-Ljungberg, 352-273-4304, koro-ljungberg@coe.ufl.edu
WRITER: Alexa Lopez, 352-273-4449, aklopez@coe.ufl.edu
MEDIA RELATIONS: Larry Lansford, 352-273-4137, llansford@coe.ufl.edu


One of COE’s ‘6 to Watch’ students receives leadership scholarship

UF education doctoral student Angel Rodriguez was selected by Kappa Delta Pi to receive the C. Glen Hass Laureate Scholarship in Instructional Leadership.  The $1,500 award is only awarded to applicants from the University of Florida doctoral program.

Kappa Delta Pi is an international education honor society comprised of more than 40,000 students, teachers, professionals and school staff members and administrators from around the world.

Rodriguez, a science professor at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, is currently pursuing a doctorate in higher education leadership at UF. He was profiled on the College of Education’s home web page earlier this year as one of the “Six to Watch” students as recommended by UF education professors.

According to Dale Campbell, a higher education administration professor who recommended Rodriguez for the scholarship, Rodriguez is dedicated to helping community college students.  After 20 years of serving on community college faculties, Rodriguez hopes to become president at a Florida community or state college.

“I have no doubt that with his values, vision and vitality, Angel will achieve his goal of becoming a community college president and a leader we can all be proud of,” Campbell wrote in his recommendation letter.


Math ed professor nominated for Spirit of Gainesville Award

Tim Jacobbe

Tim Jacobbe, a math education professor at UF’s College of Education, and his wife, Elizabeth, were nominees for The Gainesville Sun’s 2012 Spirit of Gainesville Awards.

The awards were announced on Nov. 28.

Now in its second year, the Spirit of Gainesville Awards honor members of the community in five categories: arts, community service, entrepreneurship, medicine and sportsmanship. The Jacobbes have been nominated in the community service category for their involvement in the nonprofit organization Caleb’s Pitch.

Tim Jacobbe founded Caleb’s Pitch in 2009 in memory of his nephew, Caleb Jacobbe, who passed away from cancer at the age of 8. Caleb’s Pitch is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating memorable experiences and enhancing the quality of life for children and families confronting serious childhood illnesses. Caleb’s Pitch aims to share the story of Caleb Jacobbe as an inspiration to others through the Caleb Jacobbe Award which is given out by several Division 1 basketball programs across the country.

To learn more about Caleb’s Pitch, please visit http://calebspitch.org.

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COE alum receives nation’s highest science teaching honor

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.

During his Washington, D.C. visit, Grunder poses a question to physicist Jim Gates, a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, at a recent council meeting. (Photo courtesy of National Science Foundation)

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

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Award reflects McCray’s rise as top scholar in special education

A diverse and potent research agenda—focusing on (of course) diversity and equity along the teacher-education pipeline—has helped University of Florida special education instructor Erica McCray win a 2012 UF Excellence Award for Assistant Professors.

The awards, presented by the university’s Provost’s Office, recognize junior faculty for excellence in research. Each award is a onetime allocation of $5,000 in support of research that can be used to fund travel, equipment, books, graduate students and other research-related expenses.

Now in her fifth year as assistant professor at UF’s College of Education, McCray has quickly drawn national and international attention for her work. She recently received an Outstanding Author Contribution Award from the Emerald Literati Network for a book chapter resulting from her study of black women scholars teaching at predominately white colleges of education. Her research activities, also involving teacher quality and professional development and K-12 student experiences, have generated more than $4 million in collaborative, highly competitive grant support.

She also is a consultant on two training grants worth more than $2 million.

“My goal is to prepare pre-service teachers who are skilled and have a strong sense of self-efficacy to teach students with special needs, as well as students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” said McCray, who earned her doctorate in special education from the University of South Florida in 2006 and was a visiting instructor there for a year before joining the UF faculty in 2007.

At UF, McCray made an instant impact as a special education instructor and mentor, receiving the College of Education’s Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2009. She also served as a research associate with the UF-based National Center to Inform Policy and Practice in Special Education Professional Development (NCIPP). Her research is widely published in highly regarded journals including Teacher Education Quarterly and the Journal of Special Education Leadership.

Her intriguing assortment of research topics also includes studies on the experiences of students enrolled in magnet schools and on the perspectives of K-12 students on their literacy and technology experiences.

“Professor McCray established herself quickly as a talented instructor and she is moving rapidly toward becoming a national leader in her field,” said Jean Crockett, professor and director of the college’s School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies.


   SOURCE: Erica McCray, UF assistant professor in special education, edm@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4264
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137


UF cites higher ed student for superior accomplishment in health promotion

Maureen Miller, a doctoral student at UF’s College of Education, has earned two campuswide awards for the impact she’s made as interim director of UF’s GatorWell Health Promotion Services.

Miller, who’s pursuing her Ed.D in higher education administration while working at her full-time UF job, recently received the Jeffrey A. Gabor Employee Recognition Award and a UF Superior Accomplishment Award for her diligent efforts and research that has helped shape many of the alcohol and drug prevention programs on campus.

UF’s groundbreaking Medical Amnesty Policy, which waives student disciplinary action if they seek medical help in cases of serious and life-threatening alcohol and drug-related emergencies, went into effect last year under Miller’s leadership at GatorWell.

The annual Super Accomplishment awards program highlights UF staff members for outstanding service, money-saving ideas or contributions that improve the quality of life for students and employees. Miller won a divisional award for all departments and units under the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

The Gabor award, also part of the Super Accomplishment program, highlights outstanding contributions employees have made to the university. Miller was one of four employees who received the award along with a commemorative plaque and $1,000 check.

Miller has worked at UF since graduating with her B.S. degree in 2000 and a Master of Public Health degree in 2002, working at GatorWell as the coordinator for alcohol and other drug prevention since 2002. She’s scheduled to graduate with her doctorate in 2015.

She previously was recognized in the Who’s Who of Prevention Leadership in Florida in 2004 and received the Community Recognition Award for Outstanding Prevention Service from the Corner Drug Store Family & Behavior Health Services, Inc., in 2007.


Community college council honors ’08 higher ed graduate

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.


COE graduate wins AERA Scholarly Award

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.


ATE taps doctoral student for teacher-leadership scholarship

The Association of Teacher Educators has awarded UF education doctoral student Rachel Wolkenhauer its 2012 Robert Stevenson Scholarship. The yearly honor goes to a student working on an advanced degree who will use her education to enhance teacher leadership among her peers.

Wolkenhauer, in her second year of doctoral studies in curriculum and instruction, is a former Pinellas County elementary teacher and works as a trained Master Teacher with the college’s Lastinger Center for Learning while pursuing her doctorate. She provides professional development to teachers at the center’s partnering schools.

She said she hopes to fulfill the leadership requirements of the scholarship by creating and maintaining relationships between schools and universities. She said the relationship would be mutually beneficial; universities would produce more useful research, and schools would have more access to research and a liaison to education policymakers.

The ATE organization, founded in 1920, focuses on improving teacher education for school-based and post-secondary educators.

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Senate aide, rising thought leader named Outstanding Young Alumni

One is a former Florida College Student of the Year and a rising star among thought leaders in American education. The other is making a national impact in the political arena as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate.

They are Brian Dassler (MEd ’02, English education) and Jocelyn Moore (MEd ’00, student personnel in higher education), both named 2012 Outstanding Young Alumni by UF’s College of Education. The UF Alumni Association established the award in 2006 to recognize graduates who are 35 or younger and have distinguished themselves in their profession and community.

Read their profiles below and it’s easy to see why they were selected:

Brian Dassler

Brian Dassler (MEd ’02, English education)
KIPP Renaissance School, New Orleans

While an undergraduate at UF, Dassler’s numerous honors, scholarships and campus activities led Florida Leader magazine to select him as its 2001 Florida College Student of the Year. He received his M.Ed. degree from UF in 2002 and has been making his mark ever since, not only as a superb teacher, but as a national education thought leader.

He taught high school English for five years in Broward County and in 2007 became the district’s youngest recipient of its Teacher of the Year Award. Dassler last year was named the founding principal of the KIPP Renaissance School in New Orleans, a progressive charter school in the city’s impoverished Upper Ninth Ward. He trained for that position through a novel fellowship program of the national KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Foundation.

He has served on the Florida PTA Board of Directors and on several state education advisory groups. Opinion columns written by Dassler have received widespread coverage on hot education topics such as the achievement gap in America’s schools and the pros and cons of virtual schooling.

Jocelyn Moore (MEd ’00, SPHE)
Legislative Director
Office of U.S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV

Jocelyn Moore chose an unconventional career path in public policy after earning her master’s in Student Personnel in Higher Education in 2000, but she attributes her problem-solving and creative-thinking skills to her UF graduate studies experience. She has worked for 12 years as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate, currently as the legislative director for Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV.

She oversees the progression of bills and initiatives he is involved in and also is staff director of the Senate finance subcommittee on health care that he chairs. Moore previously worked for former Florida U.S. Sen. Bob Graham and helped him develop a stipend program for all UF students interning on Capitol Hill. Her career highlights include helping to get President Barack Obama elected, working with mining companies to improve mine safety, and helping to lead our nation’s health care reform effort.

She volunteers with the Junior League of Washington to promote literacy and previously served on the board of the Washington, D.C., Gator Club. She received the 2010 First Focus Champion for Children Award and the 2009 Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Congressional Staff Leadership Award.

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


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’65 grad Delores Lastinger named UF Distinguished Alumna

Delores Lastinger, a leading civic leader, philanthropist and former Jacksonville high school teacher known for her tremendous contributions to the Northeast Florida community and the University of Florida, has been chosen to receive the 2012 University of Florida Distinguished Alumna Award.

She was honored May 5 at UF’s commencement ceremony in Gainesville.

Lastinger, a longtime Jacksonville resident who, with her husband Allen, moved to St. Augustine in 2001, earned her bachelor’s degree in education from UF’s College of Education in 1965 and has always displayed a deep commitment to education. The Lastingers in 2002 created a $4 million endowment at UF to establish the Lastinger Center for Learning at the college.

The renowned center reflects the Lastingers’ vision of practical training that improves teacher practice and student learning. Little did they know that the center would grow in a few short years to link some 300 partnering high-poverty schools across Florida with UF research scholars from multiple disciplines, forming powerful learning communities in support of school improvement, teacher advancement and children’s early learning and healthy development. The Lastingers are active board members who continuously contribute to the center’s success.

“Close to 10 years ago, Allen and Delores, who’ve worked hard in life, found themselves in a position to give something back,” said Lastinger Center Director Don Pemberton. “They invested in education and planted a seed here in the College of Education. That seed has grown and grown and grown.”

Delores is vice president of the Lastinger Family Foundation and her devotion to education and charitable work has been a lifelong labor of love. After graduating from UF, she earned a master’s in education administration and supervision from the University of North Florida and taught for many years at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville before having children and moving into high-profile volunteer work and philanthropy.

UF has been the beneficiary of the Lastingers’ generosity on several occasions. Delores and Allen are joint lifetime members of the UF Alumni Association and are members of the President’s Council. (Allen has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from UF and is the retired CEO of Barnett Banks.) Delores also serves on the UF Foundation’s leadership gifts council and campaign steering council.

Besides the center, the Lastingers have made substantial donations to UF’s archeology program, the John V. Lombardi Scholarship Program, the UF 150th Anniversary Cultural Plaza Endowment-UF Performing Arts, and the David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies (also in the College of Education.)

Delores Lastinger’s generosity is well known throughout Northeast Florida. She and Allen co-chaired a successful $15 million capital campaign for Jacksonville Episcopal High, where Delores serves on the board of trustees. She also served on the board of directors for Leadership Jacksonville and developed the group’s annual fundraising program for its Youth Jacksonville Program, which supports more than 800 high school students. She’s also held board leadership positions for the Hubbard House (a domestic violence shelter), Hope Haven Children’s Clinic and Family Center and other charities.

Delores has volunteered for many years at the Community Hospice of Northeast Florida inpatient care center in St. Augustine and helped the center establish its pediatric hospice program. She’s also a trustee of Flagler College in St. Augustine and the Lastingers have campaigned to help preserve the college’s historic buildings.

MEDIA CONTACT: Boaz Dvir, creative services, UF Lastinger Center, UF College of Education, 352-273-0289; bdvir@coe.ufl.edu

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Participant in UF master-teacher program receives top honor in Pinellas

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For the second year in a row, a teacher who receives training from the University of Florida Master Teacher Initiative has been named teacher of the year in Pinellas County.

Pinellas County Schools recently chose UF Lastinger Center Teacher Fellows Facilitator Stephanie Whitaker, a fifth-grade teacher at Dunedin Elementary, as Pinellas County’s 2012 Teacher of the Year.

“I don’t think I would have won Outstanding Educator if I hadn’t had the opportunity to participate in the Teacher Fellows program and conduct inquiry,” said Whitaker, 29, who teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages, known as ESOL.

Inquiry — action research conducted on the job by educators — is a cornerstone of the Master Teacher Initiative, an award-winning, job-embedded professional development program run by the UF Lastinger Center for Learning.

Inquiry has proven to be a natural fit for Whitaker, said Lastinger Innovation Champion Sylvia Boynton, who has worked closely with Dunedin teachers over the years.

“One of the things I’ve started doing is inquiry opportunities with my students — having them conduct research,” Whitaker said.

It’s been a big hit, year after year.

“There was never a discipline problem and the kids loved every minute — they would ask to do this work,” Boynton said.

Whitaker, who’s been teaching for six years, has participated in the Teacher Fellows program since Dunedin partnered with Lastinger five years ago.

Last year, PCS named Tracy Staley, a participant in the Master Teacher Initiative’s on-the-job graduate program, the district’s Outstanding Educator. She went on to become a finalist for the state Teacher of the Year.

Being named Pinellas’ 2012 Teacher of the Year caught Whitaker by surprise.

“It’s really been an out-of-body experience,” she said.

Her teaching has been more structured since she began as a Teacher Fellow, Whitaker said. She differentiates her instruction through individualized data and views her students in new ways.

“I look at my classroom through a different lens,” she said.

Besides teaching, Whitaker serves on Dunedin’s school leadership team.

“She is a wonderful resource to the other teachers,” Boynton said.


Sylvia Boynton, innovation champion, UF Lastinger Center for Learning, 727-742-3759, sboynton@coe.ufl.edu

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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

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


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


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.


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


STEM education professor named AAAS Fellow

Kent Crippen, associate professor of STEM education in the College of Education, has been named an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow along with five other University of Florida professors. Crippen was elected to the association’s Section on Education for his contributions to the field of science learning.

AAAS, the world’s largest general scientific society, has elected Fellows since 1874 for their work in advancing the field of science. Each potential Fellow must be nominated by three current Fellows, the CEO or a steering committee of AAAS.

Crippen is with the college’s School of Teaching and Learning and serves as a science instructor for the UF Teach program, which enlists UF’s brightest science and math majors and prepares them to teach effectively. He was the 2010 recipient of the Online Learning Innovator Award for Important Research, presented by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and serves as co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Science Education and Technology.

He came to UF in 2011 from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was associate director of the Center for Mathematics and Science Education for 10 years.  Crippen received his Ph.D. in administration, curriculum and instructional technology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.


TASH honors PhD candidate as Emerging Researcher in special education

Ann-Marie Orlando, a University of Florida doctoral candidate in special education, recently received the 2011 Alice H. Hayden Emerging Researcher Award from TASH, a leading international advocacy group for people with disabilities.

The annual award honors doctoral students in education and related fields who demonstrate potential leadership and ongoing commitment in teaching, scholarship and service on behalf of people with significant disabilities. TASH is based in Washington, D.C.

Since starting her doctoral studies in special education leadership in 2006, Orlando has filled many roles in UF’s special education research and teaching programs. Under the supervision of her faculty adviser Diane Ryndak, she has managed two federal grants, worth a combined $1.6 million, addressing the critical shortage of special-education teachers and leaders in the field of significant disabilities.

One grant focuses on preparing special education leaders with expertise in inclusive education and assistive technology, and another on expanding the pool of qualified university faculty to train the next generation of special-education teachers in the field of significant disabilities.

Orlando began her career as a speech language therapist, audiologist and nationally certified assistive technology specialist—a background reflected in her research interest in communication systems for students with significant disabilities. At UF, she has taught several courses on significant disabilities and communication and participated on a team of researchers analyzing literacy instruction for students with significant disabilities.

“Ann Marie could be a future national leader in the field of significant disabilities in relation to communication, emergent literacy instruction and inclusive education practices,” Ryndak says.

Orlando successfully defended her dissertation in November. Her research involved examining the effects of intervention during shared book-reading sessions on the communication of young children with significant developmental delays. She presented her research findings in early December at the 2011 TASH Conference in Atlanta. She co-chairs the early childhood committee for TASH and previously headed the group’s communication committee.

She and Ryndak are developing three doctoral-level courses in assistive technology and augmentative/alternative communication for individuals with significant disabilities, which Orlando will teach upon completion of her doctoral studies.

Orlando has worked part-time for the past eight years at UF’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, providing training and public awareness activities. She leads an inclusive social group for students with autism spectrum disorders and will continue working at CARD while teaching the new doctoral courses at UF.

Alice H. Hayden, the namesake of Orlando’s award, is one of the founding members of TASH and an international scholar in the field of significant disabilities.


Student affairs group honors SPHE graduate student

portrait of Christina WanChristina Wan, an M.Ed. student in UF’s Student Personnel in Higher Education program, has been named Graduate Student of the Year by the Florida chapter of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education—called NASPA-FL for short.

NASPA is considered the nation’s leading association for student affairs professionals. The state award recognizes chapter members enrolled in Florida student affairs graduate programs who create and administer innovative student affairs programs and services for Florida universities.

While pursuing her master’s in the College of Education, Wan has worked for more than a year as a graduate assistant for Career & Leadership programs at UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration, coordinating and advising two leadership programs. She also teaches a Warrington Welcome First Year Florida course.

“Christina volunteered for department-wide initiatives and her ability to excel in her position was second to none,” says Anthony DeSantis, UF associate dean of students and the current NASPA-FL state director. “She was a valuable addition to our staff and was able to complete projects that enhanced the entire department.”

Her service to NASPA includes volunteering at the group’s 2011 national conference and assisting the state chapter’s Knowledge Community Chair for Student Leadership. Wan also serves as UF’s NASPA Graduate Associate, where she has been instrumental in coordinating a Careers in Student Affairs roundtable for undergraduates at UF.

Wan completed her spring-semester practicum in May at UF’s Dean of Students Office. This semester, her practicum is at the Department of Housing and Residence Education.

She received her bachelor of arts degree in communication and international studies in 2010 from Trinity University. She is a member of four honor societies and received the Trinity Distinguished Representatives “Above and Beyond” Award in 2010.

WRITER: Nicole La Hoz, communications intern, news and communications, UF College of Education


Wood chairing National Education Finance Conference

Craig Wood, a UF professor in higher education administration and co-director of the college’s Center for Education Finance, is chairing the 2012 National Education Finance Conference, set for May 2-4, 2012, in San Antonio, Tex.The national conference is being offered through UF’s Division of Continuing Education.

Wood is a leading scholar in the field of financing public education. He serves as executive director of the American Education Finance Association and as the executive editor of the Florida Journal of Educational Administration and Policy.


Ritzhaupt named editor of FJER

Albert Ritzhaupt, UF assistant professor in educational technology, has been named editor of the Florida Journal of Educational Research, the official publication of the Florida Educational Research Association. Ritzhaupt joined the College of Education faculty last year after teaching instructional technology at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.


PKY’s Santiago named state’s top Spanish Teacher

Grisell Santiago, head of P.K. Yonge’s Spanish department, was named 2011-12 Teacher of the Year by the Florida chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

Award winners are selected based on rapport with students, student achievement, involvement in study abroad programs, contributions to school or district language programs, and service to FAATSP and other professional organizations.

A native of Puerto Rico, Santiago has taught at P.K. Yonge for seven years and holds a master’s in Spanish literature from the University of Central Florida, where she taught prior to joining P.K. Yonge. Santiago teaches Spanish II and IV, AP Spanish Language and AP Spanish Literature. She also sponsors the Hispanic Honor Society and the International Club and serves as regional director for the Florida Foreign Language Association overseeing Alachua, Citrus, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy and Volusia counties.

Grisell has conducted teacher research and presented projects on grammar and reading strategies at the UF College of Education’s Teacher Inquiry Showcase. Her students have represented P.K. Yonge at the UCF SAGA Annual Colloquium and the Northeast Florida World Language Festival.


Ed tech scholar named to EU panel on lifelong learning

Catherine Cavanaugh, UF associate professor of education technology, has been named to the International Advisory Panel for the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme multi-year project examining innovative ICT-enhanced learning initiatives, http://www.virtualschoolsandcolleges.info/


’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.


Workforce council recognizes UF-Teach math-science program

GAINESVILLE, Fla.—UF-Teach, an innovative teacher-preparation program that recruits some of the University of Florida’s top science and mathematics majors into the teaching profession, recently received STEMflorida’s Best Practices Award for excellence and accountability in targeted STEM teacher recruitment and retention efforts.

STEMflorida is a business-led statewide council created in 2009 by Workforce Florida, the state’s workforce policy and oversight board. (STEM is common shorthand for the technical disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, considered vital workforce skills in today’s competitive global marketplace.)

The award was presented recently during the STEMflorida Think Tank meeting in Orlando and recognized the UF Teach program’s role in addressing the critical shortage of math and science teachers in Florida.

UF-Teach master science instructor Griff Jones (left) helps a student on a class lesson.

UF-Teach is a collaboration between UF’s College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the goal is to recruit the very best math and science majors and prepare them to teach effectively. The program is funded by a $2.4 million grant over five years from the National Math and Science Initiative and a $1 million endowment from the Helios Education Foundation based in Tampa.

“In UF-Teach, we have master science and math teachers who induct the students into the community of teachers by showing them the most effective, research-proven teaching methods in the given content areas and exposing them to supervised classroom experiences with schoolchildren beginning in their first semester,” said Tom Dana, associate dean at UF’s College of Education and co-coordinator of UF Teach with physics professor and associate dean Alan Dorsey of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The program, now in its fourth year, offers students education minors for their efforts in hopes they will take to teaching. Their degrees qualify them for teaching certification in Florida schools.


The first UF-Teach class of 41 students enrolled in 2008. By spring of 2011, enrollment jumped to 224 students. Dana said projections for 2013 call for UF-Teach to graduate more than 30 students who will be certified, and highly qualified, to teach middle and high school math and science in Florida schools.

“That number should double to 60 graduates by 2015. By then, the number of middle school and high school math and science students served by UF-Teach graduates should top 7,500 and continue to grow each year,” Dana said.

For more information, contact Dana at tdana@coe.ufl.edu or Dorsey at atdorsey@ufl.edu, or visit the UF Teach website at https://education.ufl.edu/uf-teach/.

Tom Dana, UFCOE associate dean and co-coordinator, UF Teach, tdana@coe.ufl.edu.
Larry Lansford, director, COE News & Communications, llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137


School psychology doctoral candidate wins AASP scholarship

The American Academy of School Psychology has selected Carmelo Callueng, a UF doctoral candidate in school psychology, to receive its Hyman-Lambert Memorial Scholarship. The AASP awards the $1,000 scholarship annually to two to four deserving doctoral students in the field. Recipients can use the scholarship funds to pay towards tuition or books or to cover expenses to attend the annual convention of the American Psychological Association or the national Association of School Psychologists.



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)


COE student awarded Korean Honor Scholarship

Yujeong Park

Yujeong Park, a UF doctoral student in special education, is one of 25 Korean and Korean-American graduate students nationwide to receive the 2011 Korean Honor Scholarship for high academic achievement and noteworthy extracurricular activities.

The Republic of Korea government created the scholarship in 1981 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of diplomacy between Korea and the United States, and to encourage outstanding Korean students to achieve their highest academic performance and develop leadership qualities for their future professional careers.

The scholarship committee awarded 105 scholarships this year and more than 2,400 over the past 28 years.

Park began her UF doctoral studies in special education two years ago. She also works as a research assistant for UF’s National Center to Inform Policy and Practice in Special Education Professional Development.

She presented a research report in April in New Orleans at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Her report explored the linkages between knowledge for teaching fluency, classroom practice and student achievement. She also is leading a study on the effects of the Head Start program for English language learners.

Park previously received the University of Florida’s 2010 International Outstanding Student Award.



Fla. staff development group honors Asst. Dean Vernetson

The Florida Association for Staff Development recently presented its Distinguished Service Award to UF College of Education assistant dean for student affairs Theresa B. Vernetson for her dedicated service to high-quality professional development.

The FASD, which promotes and encourages the work of staff development contacts at the state’s various school districts, cited Vernetson’s work with pre-service teachers, numerous school districts and her service on many state Department of Education committees and teams, including her role in the most recent revisions to the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices.

Vernetson is a charter member of FASD and has served as the group’s president, treasurer and longtime member of the board. She is serving her last term on the board and will continue to work on the annual conference planning team.

Since 1981, Vernetson has held various positions within the College of Education, including director of extended services; director of professional development and communications; director of educational outreach and communications; and assistant dean for educational outreach and communications.


UF, Pinellas schools partnership wins statewide award

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning and Pinellas County Schools (PCS) have won a prestigious, statewide award for their groundbreaking professional development partnership.

Sylvia Boynton

The Florida Association of Staff Development (FASD) presented the 2011 Outstanding Professional Development Practices Award Sept. 20 at its Fall Leadership Conference in St. Pete Beach.

“This award recognizes the remarkable collaboration between Pinellas and Lastinger in establishing a professional culture across a large and complex school district,” said Sylvia Boynton, a UF Lastinger Center-affiliated professor-in-residence in Pinellas County. The Lastinger Center is part of UF’s College of Education.

The district greatly values this partnership, including its academic cornerstone, inquiry, which guides Pinellas educators to identify challenges in their classrooms and schools and study and test possible solutions, said PCS Professional Development Director Lisa Grant.

“A key element of the partnership is the connection between research and practice,” Grant said. “The inquiry stance enables teachers and administrators to continually improve.”

The Pinellas educators’ inquiry projects target “real problems of practice, often focused on students who struggle, on curriculum that isn’t quite working or on educator strategies that need refinement,” noted Alyson Adams, UF assistant professor of education and the Lastinger’s Center’s associate director.

More than 800 educators recently presented their inquiry project findings at the Lastinger-staged Pinellas County Learning Showcase & Inquiry Celebration held recently in Clearwater.

The FASD professional development award, Boynton said, “reflects the profound respect that the district and Lastinger have for the knowledge generated by those who work with students every day – teachers and administrators.”


SOURCE:Alyson Adams, associate director, UF Lastinger Center for Learning, 352-273-4107, adamsa@coe.ufl.edu

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College fetes engaged scholarship efforts of faculty, local educators

UF’s College of Education recently honored some of this year’s most noteworthy efforts in engaged scholarship by college and university faculty and graduate students, and local educators.

The “scholarship of engagement’ concept involves pursuing innovative scholarly activities specifically to address critical concerns in education or society. Engagement often requires building connections with schools, families, school districts, community groups and government agencies to lead for change in a world where transformation in education and society is essential.

The college recognized its 2011 Scholarship of Engagement Award winners Sept. 8 at its annual fall recognition reception at the Gainesville Women’s Club. The recipients included College of Education faculty in educational administration, early childhood studies and educational technology, a UF professor and a graduate student in health education and behavior, and local school heads from Newberry Elementary School and P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School.

A list of the winners follows:

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

Linda Behar-Horenstein, professor in educational administration, UF Distinguished Teaching Scholar
Linda Behar-Horenstein puts her knowledge of school curriculum to work by helping educators improve teaching methods. She holds the prestigious title of UF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, a role that allows her to help graduate students in many colleges acquire the skills they need to become researchers, while offering faculty members an expanded skills base in teaching their doctoral students. Her recent work documents how helping faculty acquire a basic awareness of their own instructional practices can yield changes to their teaching. Behar-Horenstein, an affiliate professor of the College of Dentistry, has developed a Critical Thinking Skills Toolbox website for the American Dental Educational Association. This site assists faculty in dental schools across the U.S. and Canada in infusing the teaching of critical thinking skills strategies.

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

Patricia Snyder, professor and David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies

Patricia Snyder portraitPat Snyder often finds herself in watching infants, toddlers and preschoolers interact with their families or early learning practitioners, counting the learning opportunities happening right in front of her. It is her natural instinct to note how one can easily capitalize on these everyday learning experiences. This is the kind of person you want overseeing the university’s new, interdisciplinary Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies. Snyder and the College of Education were instrumental in the center’s formation last year and she is its founding director. Snyder and her colleagues are mobilizing all the resources and expertise that the College and university can muster to advance the science, practice and policy of early childhood development and early learning. She advises state and federal early-learning commissions and also supports the local community in early-learning initiatives. Snyder is a local volunteer and adviser for United Way and the Children’s Movement of Florida.

COE Faculty Award (School of Teaching and Learning)

Kara Dawson, associate professor, education technology and Unified Elementary Education
Kara Dawson studies the innovative ways that technology can impact teaching and learning in K-12 classrooms, higher education and virtual schooling. Not only is she preparing UF teaching students for the increased role that online learning is playing in contemporary education, she’s also working to make computers a pervasive part of the learning experience in all public school classrooms. In one study, Dawson and co-researchers partnered with nearly 30 Florida school districts to assess and improve online teaching tools and classroom technology. Dawson, a UF faculty member since 1999, teaches the educational media practicum course that accompanies a student-teaching apprenticeship in the online learning environment through Florida Virtual School. She belongs to a statewide council of education technology leaders from school districts and is the lead researcher studying the influence of the federal grant entitlement program known as Enhancing Education through Technology, part of the No Child Left Behind program.

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

Fran Vandiver, school director (recently retired)
While directing UF’s renowned K-12 laboratory school over the past 13 years, Fran Vandiver has provided leadership and support to the 14-county Northeast Florida Educational Consortium. She also has assisted hundreds of school leaders across the state in understanding how to use research and theory to improve schools thoughtfully, rather than reactively. She was a key force in the Florida Reading Initiative, a state-funded project that impacted more than 100 schools. Vandiver also has been a strong proponent of teacher inquiry as an effective method of school-improvement. She supported the development of Research in Action and the Scholars Academy at P.K. Yonge, which continues to host more than 300 teachers and administrators annually. She was always in-synch with P.K. Yonge’s two core missions: First, you find the best way to teach kids, then you pass that knowledge to practicing and future teachers whenever and wherever you can.

Graduate Student Award

Anthony Delisle, doctoral student, UF Department of Health Education and Behavior
Tony Delisle has dedicated much of the past three years participating in a community-academic partnership that promotes health-enhancing physical activity in young adults with intellectual disabilities. He knows that persons with such disabilities are less likely to engage in physical activity and are more susceptible to obesity and other chronic diseases related to inactivity. He has worked with county school administrators, educators, caregivers, three UF academic departments and numerous university students to revive and expand a Community Academic Partnership to address the problem. The group implements sustainable health programming to increase physical activity and improve health outcomes in young adults with intellectual disabilities. Delisle has won numerous honors for his research and graduate-teaching instructional achievements. And, he’s achieved all of this—despite also being legally blind.

University Award

Christine Stopka, professor, UF Department of Health Education and Behavior
Since 1982, Christine Stopka and her students have worked directly with public schools, locally and statewide, using adapted physical education activities and exercise therapy to improve the quality of life for schoolchildren and young adults with physical, medical and intellectual disabilities. She has conducted dozens of in-service workshops, institutes and distance-learning courses to help teachers become highly qualified in promoting health-enhancing physical activity in students aged 2 through 22 with significant disabilities. She and her students work directly with public school teachers and their students in the teaching and learning of adapted physical education, aquatics, fitness and sports programs. Studies show these students improve in fitness skills at the same rate as their UF student peers, and it benefits their eventual transition into vocational settings. More recent research also shows that the UF peer “tutors” improve their own fitness levels, communication skills and comfort in volunteering. Stopka’s program bridges community service with research and has proven to be a win-win-win for everyone involved.

School District Award

Lacy Redd, principal, Newberry Elementary School
Lacy Redd has served as principal at Newberry Elementary School for nine years. She is a UF ProTeach graduate and earned her master’s and specialist degrees from UF.  She is currently a doctoral student writing her dissertation on “What is the principal’s role in socializing new teachers to the profession.” She is actively involved in training the next generation of teachers by hosting some 30 future teachers at her school each semester. Newberry Elementary, an “A” school for four consecutive years, and its highly respected principal are gaining nationwide attention for their ability to make impressive gains with students with disabilities through an inclusive education model. Redd recently co-authored her first published research report in the Journal of Special Education Leadership.

Rowe, Rivera share staff member of year award; 11 staff receive service pins

Rowe and Rivera.

No, they are not senior partners in a personal-injury law firm. They’re not the middle infield double-play combo on the Florida Gators’ baseball team. Nor is this “R & R” ticket the one to beat in the 2012 presidential race, although the double-R alliteration on their campaign signs would make for some really rad reading and chanting by supporters.

Rowe and Rivera are Angela Rowe and Donna Rivera and, like presidential candidates, they do have their supporters, as evidenced by their selection earlier this month as the College of Education’s 2011 Staff Members of the Year. Rowe is the graduate secretary in the School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education, and Rivera is the office manager in the School of Teaching and Learning.

Angela Rowe (r) receives award from Dean Emihovich

The duo was crowned this year’s top staffers at the Staff Appreciation Luncheon May 11 in the Norman Hall courtyard. While attendees munched on conch fritters and cheeseburgers-in-paradise to celebrate the event’s tropical Key West theme, Dean Catherine Emihovich read some of the glowing tributes that fellow faculty and staffers wrote about award recipients Rowe and Rivera in letters of nomination.

Here’s a small sampling of what Angela Rowe’s fellow-staffers said about her and the vital role she plays in the HDOSE office:

Angela is dedicated and professional while ensuring the high-volume applications and admissions processes run as smoothly as possible;

She consistently goes above and beyond what is expected of her;

She is exceptionally knowledgeable about the College and graduate school policies; if there’s something she doesn’t know, she always goes the extra mile to find out the correct information;

Angela is very approachable even when she’s terribly busy;

Donna Rivera...happy day

Rivera’s STL co-workers were equally generous with their compliments:

Donna knows her job, the university system, and gets things done at the highest quality level possible; the work she does for faculty, staff and students truly exceeds the title of office manager;

In managing a department as complex as STL, Donna juggles many responsibilities that range from assisting the STL director with budget planning to keeping track of hundreds of financial, academic and personnel records for STL faculty, staff and graduate assistants;

I can honestly say that our program and my individual grant projects would not run smoothly without Donna’s support and counsel

— Her thorough understanding of STL budgetary needs and operating procedures is nothing short of amazing.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to write a letter of nomination, and a BIG THANKS to members of the Award Selection Committee for carefully reviewing and evaluating the many nomination letters. Committee members were: Sondra Smith, Colleen Swain, Penny Cox, Jodi Mount, Sandy Durham and Patty Bruner.

Dean Emihovich (center) recognizes staff members who received service pins, including Susan Stabel (r), who received her 20-year pin.

Service pins awarded

Also at the luncheon, the following staff members received pins for milestones reached in years of service:

20 years: Susan Stabel
15 years: Linda Preston, Robin Rossie
10 years: Sherrie Kezele-Sullivan
5 years: Trace Choulat, Kay Curcio, Sandra Durham, Sylvia Hayes, Jodi Mount, Tammy Perez, Allison Pipkin

WRITER: Larry Lansford, Director, COE News & Communications, llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137

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P.K. Yonge research head named school’s new director

(Listen to related WUFT-FM radio news report)

GAINESVILLE, FL — Lynda Hayes, director of research and outreach at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School and an affiliated university school professor at the University of Florida’s College of Education, has been named the new director of the school.

Lynda Hayes

She will assume her new position July 1, according to UF education dean Catherine Emihovich, who announced Hayes’ appointment Monday (May 16). Hayes succeeds Fran Vandiver, who retired in April after 13 years as director. P.K. Yonge has served as the K-12 laboratory school of the College of Education since 1934.

Hayes is a Triple EduGator—earning her bachelor’s (1981) and master’s (1986) degrees in childhood education, and her doctorate (1992) in curriculum and instruction, all from UF’s College of Education.

She has worked at P.K. Yonge for 24 years in several teaching and administrative positions. A serious researcher herself, Hayes has garnered more than $35 million dollars in external funding in her career. She’s a recognized leader in Florida school reform, having worked with hundreds of schools and district leaders to implement research-proven teaching methods for aspiring and practicing teachers in public schools.

“P.K. Yonge is poised to make important contributions to the local, state and national conversation about improving K-12 public education for all students, with a progressive 21st century approach to personalized learning,” Hayes said. “Our success will depend on furthering our partnership efforts with faculty scholars in the College of Education and across the University of Florida, and continuing our relationship with the Florida Department of Education.”

Hayes has worked closely with UF education researchers on numerous cutting-edge projects and holds an affiliated faculty position with the college’s School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies. She said she hopes to heighten P.K. Yonge’s role at UF in broader impact programs and research efforts in the vital STEM fields–science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Hayes’ three-year appointment will begin July 1 and continue until June 30, 2014, when the next dean of the College of Education may exercise the right to reappoint her for an additional term. (Dean Emihovich is stepping down Aug. 14 and a national search is currently underway for her replacement.)

Hayes said she will continue to collaborate with college and UF administrators in developing a teacher evaluation system for P.K. Yonge that meets the requirements for federal Race to the Top funding and Florida Senate Bill 736 (creating a statewide teacher merit pay plan). She will work with interim school director Eileen Oliver as she prepares for her new responsibilities.

“We were fortunate to find someone with Lynda’s credentials and experience,” Emihovich said. “Given her long history with P.K. Yonge, she understands where the school must go next to realize the vision of being a premier developmental research school at a major research university.”


SOURCE: Lynda Hayes, newly appointed director, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, lhayes@pky.ufl.edu; (w) 352-392-1554, ext. 272

WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, COE News & Communications, llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137

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Special ed researcher is first to receive provost’s junior faculty award


University of Florida special education researcher Joseph Gagnon recently became the first College of Education faculty member to receive the UF Provost’s Excellence Award for Assistant Professors.

The annual honor recognizes up and coming junior faculty members from several colleges across campus for excellence in research. The award comes with a $5,000 stipend that recipients can use to fund travel, equipment, graduate students and other research-related expenses.

Gagnon is garnering national attention for his innovative research linking youths with emotional-behavioral disorders and learning disabilities and the services provided in juvenile correctional facilities and psychiatric schools. His research has been published in top journals in the field including Exceptional Children, Journal of Special Education, and Journal of Child and Family Studies and he frequently presents and national at international conferences.

A UF education faculty member since 2007, he has garnered nearly $3 million in external research grants and has served as the principal Investigator or co-PI on five highly competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences and other prestigious organizations.

He has developed an impressive record of collaboration with UF faculty experts in law and medicine and holds an affiliated faculty appointment with the law school’s Center on Children and Families. He also serves as an expert consultant for several states’ juvenile justice systems under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Justice.

He received a College of Education Faculty Scholarship of Engagement Award in 2010 for his research on educational policies and programs for students in confinement. He also has published extensively on mathematics instruction for secondary students with emotional disorders and learning disabilities.

Gagnon has a doctorate in special education-behavior disorders from the University of Maryland at College Park.


SOURCE: Joseph Gagnon, assistant professor in special education, 352-273-4262; jgagnon@coe.ufl.edu
Larry Lansford, director, news & communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137; llansford@coe.ufl.edu





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Special ed prof Holly Lane named 2011 Outstanding Graduate Teacher

Having earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in special education from the University of Florida, it’s understandable how Holly Lane, an associate professor in special education, can relate so well with her UF students at any stage of their college experience.

Her commitment to her students also explains why she was selected as the 2011 Outstanding Graduate Teacher at the College of Education.

Holly Lane...Outstanding Graduate Teacher

“(Dr. Lane) demonstrates her commitment to excellence by devoting her time to working closely with junior scholars,” says recent doctoral graduate Ailee Montoya (PhD ’10, special education). She also commended Lane for “helping minority students succeed in higher education.”

Lane taught special education in public schools for eight years in three North Florida counties before joining UF’s education faculty in 1994. She combines her strong teaching commitment with a penchant for landing major research and leadership grants, often in support of doctoral students in special education.

She has received two leadership grants since 2008 from the U.S. Department of Education to fund 12 doctoral students in special education, and she developed two new doctoral seminars on reading intervention research and literacy teacher education. She also has contributed to the development of a new doctoral student orientation program and served as the faculty advisor for the doctoral student organization.

Some of her former doctoral students are now award-winning faculty members in their own right at top-tier education programs such as the universities of Washington, North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Virginia.

Lane also has secured grant support and developed a series of online courses for master’s and specialist students in education, mainly in the field of literacy intervention for students with disabilities.

Her research interests include the role of teacher knowledge in student reading achievement, video models of effective teaching, and the effects of tutoring on preparedness in teaching struggling readers. She has published a multitude of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and a book.

“Reading is a cornerstone for a child’s success in school and throughout life,” Lane explains about her chosen research specialty area.

She currently holds three large federal grants related to literacy intervention and teaching:

—  an $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education for Project LITERACY: Literacy Intervention in Teacher Education for Reaching all Children and Youth;

—  she is co-principal investigator on a $1.5 million grant from the federal Institute of Education Sciences for Project LIBERATE: Literacy Based on Evidence through Research for Adjudicated Teens to Excel;

—  and, she is the PI for a $1.2 million grant from the Office for Special Education Programs for Project RELATE: Research in Early Literacy and Teacher Education.


Source: Holly Lane, associate professor, special education, UF College of Education; 352-273-4273; hlane@ufl.edu

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