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UF taps Griffin for prestigious research foundation professorship

Cynthia Griffin

University of Florida special education professor Cynthia Griffin, recognized nationally for her research on teaching mathematics to students with disabilities, has been named a UF Research Foundation (UFRF) Professor for 2011-2014.

Griffin, a top-funded research professor in the College of Education, is one of 33 UF faculty scholars selected for the prestigious professorships. The UF Research Foundation awards the professorships annually to tenured faculty who have made recent contributions in research and have a strong research agenda likely to lead to continuing distinction in their fields. The three-year award includes a $5,000 annual salary supplement and a one-time $3,000 grant to support their research.

“Dr. Griffin has risen to national prominence for her scholarly leadership in linking mathematics education and special education, and she brings prestige to our school and college,” said Jean Crockett, director of special education, school psychology and early childhood studies (SESPECS) at the College of Education.

Griffin is building an impressive track record for winning highly-competitive federal grant funding for her studies. She currently holds $2.3 million in research and doctoral training grants from the prestigious Institute for Education Sciences.

She received an $800,000 doctoral leadership training grant in 2008 from the U.S. Education Department’s office of special education programs to prepare four doctoral students in special education and math instruction. That same year, the College of Education awarded Griffin with a three-year, B.O. Smith Research Professorship to study how teachers’ content knowledge and classroom practices in mathematics influenced their students’ learning.

She and co-researchers last year received a $1.5 million grant from IES to develop and refine an online professional development program targeting practicing general and special-education elementary teachers who teach math to students with learning disabilities.

Griffin became a full-time UF education faculty member in 1990 and is the college’s associate director for research and graduate studies in SESPECS.

She is co-author of a text on inclusive instruction due to be published in 2012 by Guilford Press. Since 2006, Griffin has published 18 research articles in leading scholarly journals including the Journal of Educational Research, Journal of Educational Psychology, and Teacher Education and Special Education.


SOURCE: Cynthia Griffin, professor in special education, ccgriffin@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4265

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

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Jacobbe in math education named top undergraduate teacher

Mathematics education instructor Tim Jacobbe has been named the 2010-11 Undergraduate Teacher of the Year at the University of Florida’s College of Education, with a faculty selection panel citing his outstanding ability to help his students see the connection between research-based math concepts and their use in teaching practice.

Tim Jacobbe

“The list of ways Dr. Jacobbe and his course prepared me for the real world in elementary education goes on and on,” wrote one student in nominating Jacobbe, who is an assistant professor in the college’s School of Teaching and Learning. “This was a professor who knew what information, skills and support were truly the most important for educators to be successful in the classroom.”

The selection committee, chaired by science education professor Rose Pringle, also praised Jacobbe’s efforts in involving students in “Family Math Nights” at local, high-poverty elementary schools. The event brings together the schoolchildren and their families for an evening of fun math games and learning. Jacobbe also teaches a math methods class to the elementary students, which provides additional supervised teaching opportunities for his UF preservice students.

His work with local, high-need elementary schools in 2010 earned him the college’s Faculty Scholarship of Engagement Award for the School of Teaching and Learning.

“Dr. Jacobbe’s engaged scholarship activities not only support our future elementary math teachers but also benefit hundreds of schoolchildren from low-income families who are often marginalized in today’s education system,” said UF Education Dean Catherine Emihovich.

Jacobbe studies the impact of these efforts on preservice teachers and elementary student learning and disseminates his findings so other educators might benefit.

His research also addresses teachers’ preparation to teach statistics and the use of collective grading as a professional development experience. His interest in statistics education grew from his experience working as an assessment specialist at Educational Testing Service, where he was a primary test developer for the Advanced Placement statistics, SAT, GRE and Praxis programs.

“My research relates to exploring the most effective methods to impart changes in the way mathematics is taught, particularly at the elementary school level,” Jacobbe said.

He came to UF in 2008 from the University of Kentucky education faculty. He has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in mathematics education from Clemson University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Bowling Green State University.


SOURCE: Tim Jacobbe, assistant professor, math education, UF College of Education, 352-273-4232; jacobbe@coe.ufl.edu
Larry Lansford, director, news & communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137; llansford@coe.ufl.edu


Ed tech student is national essay finalist

Posted Jan. 25, 2011

Julia Carpenter, an EdD candidate in education technology, has received a Delta Epsilon Iota Literary Honor medallion as a finalist in DEI’s scholarship essay contest on “How to Study Like an Honor Student.” Her essay will be published in a national DEI publication and advances to the final round of judging to compete for the Literary Circle of Honor Scholarship. DEI is a national academic honor society.


LEAD student snares internship for White House initiative

Posted Jan. 25, 2011

Karina Menendez, a member of the EdD executive cohort for the college’s K-12 LEAD (Leadership in Educational Administration Doctorate) program, has accepted a summer internship for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. While pursuing her LEAD coursework, Menendez continues to work as an English teacher at Southwest Miami Senior High School. She drives to UF from Miami weekly to participate in Saturday, on-campus LEAD meetings.


ESOL graduate named state’s community college professor of year

Posted January 25, 2011

UF education alumnus James May (MEd ’99, EdD ’07, ESOL/bilingual ed), a professor at Valencia Community College, has been named the 2010 Professor of the Year by the Florida Association of Community Colleges. May teaches English as a second language at VCC’s east campus.

For his COE doctoral studies, Candace Harper was his faculty advisor and Colleen Swain Packer and David Miller also were on his committee.

May was one of three state finalists who gave oral presentations at the FACC’s recent annual convention in Jacksonville. His winning presentation, titled “Agreeing to Disagree: The Scarier Side of Subject Verb Agreement,” humorously illustrated the challenges of helping non-native speakers grasp the conflicting rules governing subject-verb agreement (he lives, but you live, for example).

“Dr. May proved to be the top choice for each judge,” said Heidi Marshall, vice chair for the FACC Faculty Commission and organizer of the competition. “His engaging presentation offered a fresh approach to teaching subject/verb agreement and demonstrated his expertise in his field.”

Rather than relying on students’ passive viewing of lectures and other materials, May has excelled at facilitating interactive information sharing and collaboration in his classrooms using everything from webcam and You Tube videos, to Google Docs, to content specifically formatted for cell phones and iPods.

May has created a website (http://teachertricks.org) where he teaches other instructors how to incorporate new technologies into their classrooms.

Writer: Carol Traynor, assistant director, marketing communications, Valencia Community College,  ctraynor@valenciacc.edu
Media Contact: Larry Lansford, director, communications, UF College of Education, llansford@coe.ufl.edu