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UF Research Foundation recognizes education scholar with elite professorship

LEITE, Walter

Scholar Walter Leite is the College of Education’s newest winner of a UF Research Foundation Professorship.

One way Walter Leite explains the complex statistical methods he uses to measure the effectiveness of educational programs is with the old analogy of comparing apples to apples.

The associate professor in UF’s Research and Evaluation Methods program works with massive amounts of information (so-called “big data”) to analyze the effectiveness of teaching tools and educational programs, using measures such as standardized scores, end-of-courses assessments, surveys and observation protocols.

“I try to get around the selection-bias problem, the fact that there are apples and oranges,” when analyzing datasets with upwards of 1 million or more variables, he said while explaining one of the sophisticated tools he uses – “propensity score analysis” – to analyze massive amounts of data.

“My niche is extremely large data sets with lots of variables and I try to find the evidence for program effectiveness based on that data,” the Brazilian-born scholar said.

Leite sat down for an interview recently after being awarded a prestigious University of Florida Research Foundation (UFRF) Professorship, which provides three-year awards to tenured faculty for outstanding research and to provide incentives for continued excellence.

The award recognizes the growing importance of Leite’s work at a time of increasing government mandates related to school accountability, such as the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act.

Leite’s research has been in collaboration with the UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning, where his work has helped evaluate large projects such as Algebra Nation and the Teacher Leadership for School Improvement (TLSI) program.

Last year, Leite and a research assistant received the Florida Educational Research Association’s Distinguished Paper Award for evaluating the TLSI degree program by using statistical models to follow 78 third- through fifth-grade teachers over a decade. Their study showed that students exposed to these teachers had improved their Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) math and reading scores, and reduced their school absences.

More recently, Leite and his team received a $1.6 million grant from the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning to evaluate the effectiveness of a statewide pilot project to provide pre-K teachers special training and coaching as a way to improve the learning of children getting ready to enter kindergarten.

David Miller, former coordinator of REM and now director of the School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education, said Leite’s UFRF professorship is well deserved — and increasingly important because of government requirements, such as tying school funding to student assessment scores. These mandates are proving controversial public policy, and a lot is riding on whether these accountability standards are really improving schools, teaching and learning.

“We need folks like Walter working on that,” Miller said. “It’s very complex, but the implications are very important to measure the effectiveness of social science and educational programs.”

Leite’s work is supported by a half-dozen grants, enough work to keep him so busy as to not allow time to teach. But Leite is an enthusiastic teacher. His structural equation modeling course this semester has attracted two dozen grad students from across the university, from the fields of criminology, forestry, psychology, immunology and more, who need to learn how to analyze big data.


 

Contacts
    Source: Walter Leite, College of Education, walter.leite@coe.ufl.edu; phone 352-273-4302
    Writer: Charles Boisseau, College of Education Office of News and Communications; cboisseau@coe.ufl.edu; phone 352-273-3449

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Paul Sindelar joins select group as UF Distinguished Professor

Special education Professor Paul Sindelar has been named a University of Florida Distinguished Professor, making him just the sixth College of Education faculty member to be awarded the coveted title.

Paul Sindelar8

UF Distinguished Professor Paul Sindelar

Sindelar’s new title “acknowledges an exceptional record of achievement in the areas of teaching, research and publication and professional and public service that is recognized both nationally and internationally,” according to Joseph Glover, UF provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Sindelar said there have been times when he wasn’t sure his credentials would measure up to the lofty standards set by his predecessors.

“I knew that Cecil Mercer and Paul George were both Distinguished Professors,” Sindelar said. “We were contemporaries before they retired, and I had a great deal of respect for their work.

“In fact, I was on a bird watching trip in the Yucatan when a guy we ran into asked where I was from and what I did,” he added. “After I told him I worked at the University of Florida, he asked me if I knew Paul George. I mean, what are the odds of that happening?

“Paul was one of the founding fathers of middle school education, and his work reached a lot of people,” Sindelar said. “I don’t suppose I’ve had that kind of impact, but then, not many people have.”

The same could be said of the late Cecil Mercer, a giant in his field during his 31-year tenure on the COE special education faculty. Three other former faculty members – all deceased — were granted distinguished professorships during their tenures. Joe Wittmer came to UF in 1968 and chaired the Counselor Education department for 18 of his 37 years with the COE; James Wattenbarger was known widely as the “father of Florida’s community college system” after his dissertation was used as a system blueprint in the late 1950s; and Mary Budd Rowe, a science education professor who spent 24 years on the COE faculty, was a former UF Teacher of the Year.

Sindelar said he learned about his new title while attending a conference in Arlington, Va., when COE Dean Glenn Good sent him an email message containing a letter from UF President Kent Fuchs.

“I was a bit surprised, but thrilled to death,” Sindelar said. “It’s an honor, of course, and utterly humbling.”

Sindelar, who is co-director of UF’s federally funded CEEDAR Center, has been conducting research focusing on change in the special education teacher labor market and its implications for policy makers and teacher educators. CEEDAR is an acronym for Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform.

He and his colleagues have established that fewer education teachers are employed in U.S. public schools today than were on the job 10 years ago. The reasons for the decline are unclear, although reductions in the number of students identified with learning disabilities, changes in service delivery, and the economic impact of the Great Recession all appear to play roles, their research indicates.

Mary Brownell, Sindelar’s co-director at the CEEDAR Center, says she knows her colleague will make the most of whatever opportunities his new title may bring.

“Paul has been my mentor and a close friend for 25 years,” Brownell said. “He hired me, and we’ve had a tremendous journey together as teacher education scholars. We’ve directed three centers together, four doctoral leadership grants and one research grant from the U. S. Department of Education. We’ve co-authored countless papers, presentations, and book chapters. I can’t imagine my career being what it has been without my trusted friend and wise colleague.

“He’s one of the finest teacher education researchers in our field, and he’s respected by all of his colleagues at UF and across the nation,” she added. “No one could be more deserving of the title Distinguished Professor.”

Honors and recognition aren’t new for Sindelar, He won the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, TED Publication Award in 1997 and 2009, as well as the University of Illinois College of Education Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007 and the UF Faculty Achievement Recognition Award in 2007.

Most notably, though, Sindelar and Brownell won the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s prestigious David G. Imig Award in 2015 for making significant, lasting contributions to educator development and teacher education policy and research.

Sindelar received an undergraduate degree in history at Dartmouth before earning a master’s in special education at the University of Illinois in 1974 and his Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota three years later. He entered the UF College of Education in 1988 as department chair and special education professor. He remained chair until 1996, when he became director of the UF Center for School Improvement and went on to serve as director of the UF Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education (2000-2005) and associate dean for research in the Office of Educational Research (2005-2008).


Contacts
    Media Liaison: Larry Lansford, director, College of Education Office of News and Communications; llansford@coe.ufl.edu; phone 352-273-4137.

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Laughter, accolades highlight farewell party for Harry Daniels

More than 70 well-wishers packed the Norman Hall Terrace Room recently to say farewell to Harry Daniels, a popular counselor education professor whose engaging nature is rivaled only by his soft demeanor.

Daniels web1

Harry Daniels (center) enjoys a moment while being roasted during his retirement party held in the Terrace Room.

After devoting 49 years of his life to education – including 19 years as a teaching professor, department head and mentor to many doctoral students at the UF College of Education – Daniels is retiring.

“I’m humbled by the opportunity to work with students that look to me for guidance and direction, Daniels said before Thursday’s party, where he was lovingly “roasted” by several colleagues. “Some of them have been brilliant, but I’ve always believed that I’d know when it’s time to retire. Now that I’m 71 years old, that time is here.

“Counselor education is an intense profession, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” he added. “I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by great friends, a loving family and wonderful colleagues.”

Among those blessings is Paul Sindelar, who took a few jabs at Daniels’ golf game, recalling the different nicknames his longtime friend had earned during their Sunday outings at local courses.

“He was quite a slicer,” and more often than not, his ball would end up on the other side of a fence along the fairway,” Sindelar said as Daniels sat nearby, hiding his face in his hands. “We started calling him Chain Link.”

Daniels also bore the name “Hotel Harry Daniels” – a reference to the Doubletree Inn — after one of his shots ricocheted off two trees in a wooded area, where he apparently spent a great deal of time.

Aside from the ribbing, virtually everyone who spoke of Daniels described him as a man who has remained as dedicated to his family as he has his profession.

“Above all, he’s a devoted husband, a doting father and a completely enamored grandfather,” said Special Ed. Professor Holly Lane, referring to Diane, Daniels’ wife of 48 years; their two married daughters and a baby grandson.

After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Northern Iowa, Daniels received his Ph.D. in counselor education from the University of Iowa in 1978. He taught history and other subjects in public schools for several years, and came to UF in 1996 to head the Counselor Education department.

After 11 years in that capacity, Daniels returned to the classroom, but went on to serve as the director of the COE’s School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education.

During his tenure as chair, UF’s Counselor Ed. program ranked among the top five programs nationally in its specialty every year in the U.S. News and World Report’s ‘s annual survey of America’s Best Graduate Schools. The program held the top spot in the 1997 rankings, and continues to receive high rankings.

But there’s no way Daniels’ unassuming nature allows him to take credit for the program’s success.

“I came in here with a great group of colleagues,” he said. “It’s not about me, it’s about our program.”

Perhaps Counselor Ed. program director Ellen Amatea said it best in a written farewell message about the soft-spoken Daniels.

“Your good humor, patience and willingness to listen to us will be missed,” Amatea wrote. “Not only have you been a very inspiring and encouraging teacher and leader, you have been a staunch advocate for the counseling profession and for our counselor preparation program.

“Thank you for all you have contributed to our Counselor Education program,” she added. “We will miss you.”

Contacts
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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‘Good’ news: UF leader listed among most influential education deans in U.S.

Four years into his job at the College of Education, Dean Glenn Good has been ranked No. 14 on a list of The 30 Most Influential Deans of Education in the United States by Mometrix Test Preparation, a Texas-based company that produces test preparation products worldwide.

College of Education Dean Glenn Good

The Mometrix rankings are based on a number of factors, including state and national awards and honors, education program rankings, individual degree program rankings and the level of pay received by each institution’s teacher alumni.

Good was recognized for his spotlight on research, where he has focused on gender issues in education, counseling interventions and psychosocial well-being. He is a fellow of four divisions of the American Psychological Association, with one of those divisions twice selecting him as Researcher of the Year.

Good also was named mentor and advisor of the year during his tenure at the University of Missouri, where he also received the university’s highest teaching honor.

Since his arrival at UF in 2011, the COE has made unprecedented leaps in the U.S. News and World Report’s national rankings of America’s Best Graduate Education Schools. The college is Florida’s top-ranked education school and ranks first among Southeast region public institutions. COE faculty researchers have generated more external grant funding than ever before, and Good has worked with faculty to gain substantial “UF Preeminence” funding allotted by the Florida Legislature for three priority research initiatives involving the College of Education.

The college last year also received a $5 million donation — the largest in its 109-year history — to name and endow the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies.

During Good’s tenure also has led AC Online to name UF as the No. 1 school in the U.S. for having the best online teaching degree, and StartClass to name the COE as having the sixth best early childhood education teaching degree.

More recently, Good was appointed to the blue-ribbon International Advisory Panel for the Emirates College for Advanced Education in Abu Dhabi. He also serves in elected leadership positions with three national organizations: Learning and Education Academic Research Network (LEARN); the institutional representative group of the American Educational Research Association; and the education college deans group of the elite American Association of Universities.

Contacts
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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College gives research team ‘incentive’ to create better reading assessment tool

Corinne Huggins-Manley says it was a “total team effort” that led to her receiving a College of Education-funded grant to continue promising research aimed at developing an effective reading assessment tool that teachers can use to help students improve their reading ability.

CRIF team9

CRIF research grant team members Corinne Huggins-Manley (front), Amber Benedict (from left), David Miller and Mary Brownell.

She said researchers also could use the tool to advance reading theories and assist in measuring effects of teacher professional development

Huggins-Manley, an assistant professor of research and evaluation methodology, said the $39,900 awarded to her and three colleagues – David Miller (REM), Mary Brownell (special education) and Amber Benedict (special education) – through the COE’s College Research Incentive Fund (CRIF) will be used to pay for additional help from graduate students, participant incentives and honorariums for multiple field experts.

“CRIF is such a great program,” Huggins-Manley said. “The funds allow, in part, for some relief from teaching in order to dedicate the necessary time and effort to this research project.”

The annual award is based on the team’s proposal, “Development of a Diagnostic Assessment of Morphological Awareness,” which itself could morph into a software program that would take current reading proficiency tests that estimate overall reading levels to a diagnostic level by measuring which of five skills – derivation, decomposition and prefix, inflected ending and root comprehension – individual students possess.

“Our goal is to take the reading-level data that is used now and transform that into something more specific, more skills-focused,” Huggins-Manley said. “It’s an assist tool that will provide teachers with additional information about their students’ reading skills and researchers with the ability to study skill-level reading constructs.

“Our research has the potential to make a profound impact in the classroom,” she added. “Teachers will have the skill-level information they need to plan teaching strategies for individuals or groups of students. They’ll be able to implement empirically-driven approaches that can help them both address students’ needs and accentuate students’ strengths.

“It’s a total team effort all the way.”

Contacts
   Source: Corinne Huggins-Manley, assistant professor of research and evaluation methodology; amanley@coe.ufl.edu; phone 352-273-4342
   Writer: Stephen Kindland, College of Education Office of News and Communications; skindland@coe.ufl.edu; phone 352-273-3449.

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Next HDOSE director has priorities in mind for school

David Miller doesn’t plan to make immediate changes when he takes over as director of the COE’s School of Human Development and Organizational Studies, but the longtime COE professor of research and evaluation methods has a few priorities he’d like to set.

David Miller2

David Miller

“HDOSE has some great people, so I’d really like to see us increase the quantity and quality of our research productivity and scholarship,” said Miller, who in late May will replace retiring counselor education Professor Harry Daniels, who has served as school director since May of 2012.

Miller also would like to take on the ambitious if not daunting task of adding faculty.

“The number of our tenured tracks has fallen the past few years, partly through attrition but mainly because of budget cuts,” he said. “We’ve been doing more with less, so it wouldn’t hurt to look for ways to add quality people.”

Quality is an operative word for Miller, who embraces the university’s Preeminence initiative and in 2011 began serving as director of UF’s Quality Enhancement Plan, a requirement for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

As a QEP team member, Miller has been directing a campuswide initiative called “Learning Without Borders: Internationalizing the Gator Nation” that seeks to enhance the learning environment for undergraduate students by increasing awareness of the university’s global nature. The project calls for curricular enhancement, faculty training, a speaker program and a new international scholar program.

Miller looks to parlay that experience into his new role as director of HDOSE, which he describes as a “cohesive section of great faculty members” comprising several programs, including Counselor Education, Educational Leadership, Higher Education Administration, Student Personnel in Higher Education, Research and Evaluation Methodology and Educational Psychology.

“I see my position as being more administrative than academic,” Miller said. “I hope we can continue moving forward as a single unit.”

Miller also is director of the COE’s Collaborative Assessment and Program Evaluation Services (CAPE), which was established to support grant funding in the social sciences by providing expertise in evaluation, assessment and research design for scholars across the UF campus.

A UF education faculty member since 1998, he served for seven years as chairman of education psychology. His research interests include large-scale assessment and psychometrics (the science of measuring mental capacities and processes).

Miller has a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in educational research and evaluation, and a bachelor’s degree in math and psychology, all from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Contacts
Source:
David Miller, dmiller@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4306
Writer: Stephen Kindland, College of Education Office of News and Communications; skindland@coe.ufl.edu; phone 352-273-3449.

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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.


CONTACTS
   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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International group recognizes COE professor as outstanding educator in addictions counseling

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Kristina DePue

Kristina DePue, a COE assistant professor of counselor education, has been named the 2015 Outstanding Addictions and Offender Educator by the International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors.

COE Counselor Education Professor Harry Daniels told judges in a lengthy nomination letter that DePue has received very high instructor ratings from students who see her as approachable and knowledgeable.

“She incorporates unique, activity-based techniques into her classes,” Daniels wrote. “Counselor Ed faculty members [have] asked her to expand our addictions program and create more classes that could be woven together to form a certificate program in addictions counseling.”

DePue, who received undergraduate and master’s degrees at Vanderbilt University before earning a Ph.D. in counselor education at the University of Central Florida, said she was “truly humbled” to be recognized for doing what she loves.

“My passion for addictions research and teaching is undeniable,” she said. “The reality is that all counselors will work with addictions in their careers, and we all enter this field with a variety of personal and professional experiences. My job is to help students learn about themselves so they can truly be in a position to help others.”

DePue was honored at an IAAOC breakfast during a recently held American Counseling Association convention in Orlando.

Contacts
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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Service for Thomas Oakland set for March 28

Thomas Oakland, Ph.D.

Thomas Oakland, Ph.D.

A Celebration of Life service for retired school psychology Professor Emeritus Thomas Oakland will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Gainesville. Everyone is welcome to attend and a reception will follow the service. The Oakland family has requested that guests dress comfortably and not wear black.

Dr. Oakland, an internationally renowned school psychologist, test developer, teacher, mentor and beloved humanitarian, died March 4 at his home in Gainesville. He was 75.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Dr. Thomas Oakland International School Psychology Fellowship at the University of Florida (www.uff.ufl.edu/appeals/Oakland). The fellowship was established to support international students in school psychology and U.S. students who have an interest in working internationally.

To view Dr. Oakland’s complete obituary and post online condolences, visithttp://bit.ly/1EN4n5g.

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Kramer named co-director of Institute of Higher Education

The University of Florida College of Education has named assistant professor of higher education Dennis Kramer to the new position of co-director of its UF Institute of Higher Education (IHE)—an appointment college officials say “further strengthens the institute’s commitment to higher-education policy research and scholarship.”

KRAMER, Dennis3***

Dennis Kramer

Kramer, an emerging scholar in state higher-education policy evaluation and economics, had worked as the institute’s associate director since he joined the UF faculty last August. In his expanded role, he will steer the institute’s research agenda and partnerships with Florida postsecondary institutions, and oversee externally funded research collaborations, and legislative and policy research projects.

Longtime IHE director Dale Campbell will remain as the other co-director, heading the institute’s strategic initiatives involving community college leadership development and support of best practices through the annual meeting of the Community College Futures Assembly, a national consortium of community college leaders founded by Campbell. He also will continue to coordinate UF’s higher education administration doctoral programs, which are recognized nationally as a leader in two-year and four-year postsecondary policy development and administration.

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Kramer will be joining me to further strengthen the Institute of Higher Education’s role as the premier thought leader in the state and nation on critical issues in higher education policy and practice,” Campbell said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge in the area of intersecting public policy development with institutional decision-making.”

Kramer joined the UF faculty after receiving his doctorate in higher education economics and policy evaluation from the University of Georgia. He previously held a faculty appointment at the University of Virginia and also worked for three years as the senior research and policy analyst with the Georgia Department of Education, where he managed Georgia’s education policy development and evaluation research.

His research focuses on the economics of higher education, the evaluation of federal and state policy adoption, and the impact of state decisions on community colleges and four-year institutions. He specializes in advanced quantitative research methods for studying education-related policy questions and program evaluation. He has authored a number of scholarly articles on the economics of higher education, the role of financing of intercollegiate athletics, and the impact if financial aid policies on student decision-making.

Kramer cited the IHE’s longstanding reputation as an innovator and trend-setter in higher education administration as key to his joining the UF faculty. The late James Wattenbarger, UF professor emeritus and founding director of the IHE, is widely recognized as the “father of Florida’s community college system,” while Campbell has served as director for many years and steered the formation of the Futures Assembly consortium of state community college leaders and its national Bellwethers Awards program. UF’s higher education administration academic program is one of the inaugural Kellogg Foundation-funded Community College Leadership Programs.

“It is truly an honor to carry on the legacy of leadership established by Dr. Wattenbarger and furthered by Dr. Campbell, serving both the state and nation,” Kramer said. “Working with Dr. Campbell, we will continue to enhance the institute’s scholarly productivity by connecting our research with national postsecondary policy interests and local institutional needs.


CONTACTS
   SOURCE: Dennis Kramer, Ph.D.; 352-273-4315; dkramer@coe.ufl.edu
   SOURCE; Dale Campbell, Ph.D.; 352-273-4300; dfc@coe.ufl.edu
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137; llansford@coe.ufl.edu

 

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Undergraduate Teacher of Year is model for aspiring teachers

Put simply, Kristen Apraiz – recently named the COE’s Undergraduate Teacher of the Year — makes lasting impressions in the classroom.

Kristen Apraiz10 (cropped)“After completing seven semesters at the University of Florida, [Dr. Apraiz] is one of the best professors I’ve ever had,” senior Paulette Santa-Parzons wrote in one of several nomination letters that helped determine the winner. “She practices what she teaches. The activities she presents in class are engaging, thought-provoking and applicable to our future classrooms.”

Apraiz, who taught for two years as a COE graduate student before earning her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction last year, now serves as a clinical assistant professor and teaches mathematics education in the Unified Elementary ProTeach program.

Prior to that, the Cape Coral, Fla., native spent seven years teaching math at charter and public schools in Florida, and her athletic ability came in handy when she coached varsity swimming for four years at New Smyrna Beach High School.

Apraiz is now eligible for this year’s University Undergraduate Teacher of the Year Award, but that’s not something the married mother of a 14-month-old daughter has time to think about.

“I love my job already, so being recognized by my students is icing on the cake,” said Apraiz, who earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Florida State University. “As a teacher, you never know where you stand with your students, but those letters – they were so honest, so sincere. They just overwhelmed me.”

Apparently the feeling is mutual.

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2015 Undergraduate Teacher of the Year Kristen Apraiz (lefrt) works with elementary ed. student Taylor Goyette on a lesson in teaching math in an inclusive elementary classroom.

“Dr. Apraiz was constantly offering us specific support and praise when we shared our thoughts or answers,” wrote Briana Shustari, who had Apraiz for two undergraduate ProTeach courses. “This showed us the importance of treating our future students with this same encouragement and kindness, [and] it motivated us to continue to put in our best effort and made us feel that our contributions were of value.”

Apraiz says it’s important that she knows who her students are, not just as education majors, but as young adults who have lives outside the classroom.

“It just seems natural to me,” said Apraiz, whose teaching origins go back to early childhood when she would teach her stuffed animals how to add and subtract. “I mean, we’re all going to be in the same room for a semester. Why wouldn’t I want to know who they are?”

No arguments there, either.

“She takes the time to ask us how we are doing in our other classes and within our practicum,” pre-service student Raina Weismantel wrote in her nomination. “Anyone who has had Dr. Apraiz for a professor knows that you are always welcome to visit her during her office hours for not only math help, but for emotional support as well.”

Put simply, it all adds up for a math education professor whose students make lasting impressions as well.

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Special ed. colleagues share national honor for teacher education achievements

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) honored University of Florida special education professors Mary Brownell and Paul Sindelar with its 2015 David G. Imig Award for distinguished achievement in teacher education on March 1 at the group’s annual meeting in Atlanta.

Paul Sindelar

Brownell and Sindelar were cited for making significant, lasting contributions to educator development and teacher education policy and research, both individually and working together. The Imig Award is named for the AACTE president emeritus.

In 2013, following decades of successful collaborations on several national projects studying and supporting special education teachers, Brownell and Sindelar co-founded the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center. Erica McCray in UF special education also is a co-investigator.

The groundbreaking center, based at UF’s College of Education and funded through an unprecedented five-year, $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, is helping multiple states strengthen their standards and methods for preparing, licensing and evaluating their teachers and school leaders who serve students with disabilities.

BROWNELL, Mary (2-2015)

Mary Brownell

AACTE is one of several national organizations and advocacy groups in special education and teacher preparation partnering on the CEEDAR Center project.

“Mary and Paul’s impressive contributions to research and leadership in special education teacher quality have influenced teacher education policies and practices, and doctoral scholarship, nationally and globally,” said Jean Crockett, professor and director of the college’s School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies. “What is especially impressive is their deep engagement with the cultivation of the next generation of teacher educators and researchers.”

Past collaborations for the two colleagues include co-directing two other federally funded national centers at UF—the National Center to Inform Policy and Practice in Special Education Professional Development (NCIPP) and the Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education (COPPSE). They also have worked together advising congressional education committees on proposed bills concerning the preparation and assessment of special education teachers.


CONTACTS
   SOURCE: Mary Brownell, professor of special education, UF College of Education; 352-273-273-4261; mbrownell@coe.ufl.edu;
   SOURCE: Paul Sindelar, professor of special education, UF College of Education; 352-273-273-4266; mbrownell@coe.ufl.edu;
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, news and communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137; llansford@coe.ufl.edu;

 

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Art Sandeen, student affairs icon, publishes eighth book

Arthur “Art” Sandeen’s 26 years as head of University of Florida student affairs and 14 years as a College of Education professor translate well into writing.

Art SandeenSandeen recently published his eighth book, “Making Change Happen in Student Affairs,” to share valuable advice with university administrators all over the country. The 240-page book focuses on ways student affairs administrators can best cater to today’s generation of college students.

He co-wrote the book with Margaret Barr and George McClellan, the former heads of student affairs at Northwestern and Indiana University, respectively.

According to Sandeen, student affairs leaders must learn to adapt to changing environments and increased expectations from the public and their own institutions. One of the biggest issues lies in how university student affairs will adjust to the increase in residential and face-to-face campuses moving online.

His book advises student affairs leaders to strive for self-sufficiency, achieving initiatives through their own inventiveness rather than depending solely on their institutions for money and other resources.

Sandeen, served as vice president for student affairs at UF from 1973 to 1999, when he became a professor of higher education administration at the College of Education. He has “retired” three times but continues to teach part-time in the higher education administration program. He previously was dean of students at Iowa State University. In 2014, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators honored Sandeen with its Distinguished Pillar Award for his longtime service to students and university communities. He also has published more than 50 journal articles and 21 book chapters.

Although not exclusively about the University of Florida, Sandeen said many of the ideas in his latest book were influenced by his work in UF student affairs and teaching at the College of Education.

“My experiences at this institution have shaped, and continue to shape, my idea of what student affairs should be now and in the future,” he said.

His latest book, published by Jossey Bass, is available online at google, amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online book retailers.


CONTACTS
   SOURCE: Arthur Sandeen, Professor, UF College of Education; sandeen@ufl.edu
   WRITER: Candice Wynter, communications intern, UF College of Education; cwynter@ufl.edu

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Professor emerita of counselor ed. named ACA Fellow

The world’s largest nonprofit organization representing professional counselors has awarded College of Education professor emerita Mary Ann Clark with one of its highest honors.

Mary Ann Clark1Clark, a full-time UF faculty member in counselor education from 2000-2014, will be inducted as an American Counseling Association Fellow on March 14 at the organization’s annual conference in Orlando.

The prestigious distinction is given to those who make significant contributions to the counseling field through teaching and training, professional practice, scientific achievement and governance.

Jacqueline Swank, a colleague in counselor education, nominated Clark for the award.

“She has shown an unwavering commitment to the counseling profession for nearly 40 years, demonstrating excellence in all areas possible,” she said.

Clark received her Ph.D. in counselor education from UF in 1998. Just two years later, she returned to the college as a faculty member.

With more than 100 publications and professional presentations, Clark receives national and international recognition for her scholarly endeavors. Her research agenda focuses on gender differences in cross cultural educational achievement and social development.

At UF, Clark was named the Graduate Faculty Teacher of the Year in 2008 and the B.O. Smith Endowed Professor Research Professor for 2006-2008.

Clark still teaches at the college on a phased retirement schedule, working full-time in the fall, but on leave during the spring semester.


CONTACTS
   SOURCE: Mary Ann Clark, Professor Emerita of Counselor ed., UF College of Education; maclark@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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UF scholars program taps 7 ProTeach students, 3 faculty mentors

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Gisselle Morrobel (l-r), Lauren Harris and Amy Strong.

Seven COE ProTeach undergraduates have been named UF Anderson Scholars for their outstanding academic performances, and three faculty members have been recognized for mentoring several of the honored students.

Anderson Scholar certificates are given campuswide by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to students who have earned cumulative grade point averages of at least 3.90 (with distinction); 3.95 (with higher distinction); and 4.0 (with highest distinction) during their first two years at UF.

This year’s Anderson Scholars from the COE are Elizabeth Bee, Marissa Elordi, Lauren Harris, Olivia Montero, Gisselle Morrobel, Amy Strong and Mallory Wood.

COE faculty honorees are Mary Ann Nelson, special education lecturer; clinical assistant professor Caitlin Gallingane; and Ashley MacSuga-Gage, visiting assistant professor of special education.

All seven students are majoring in elementary education, and two of them – Montero and Morrobel – received Anderson Scholar certificates With Highest Distinction.

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Olivia Montero and Elizabeth Bee.

“Being an Anderson Scholar means never losing sight of the goal of your hard work,” Montero said. “It means having people to support you and your studies to reach your goal. I couldn’t have done any of this without the encouragement and prayers of my family, fiancé, and friends.”

Morrobel couldn’t agree more.

“It’s an honor and a symbol of perseverance and dedication in pursuing my dreams,” she said.

Gallingane said she and other COE professors work as closely as they can with undergraduate students because they identify with students’ concerns as they prepare for careers in a constantly evolving profession.

“I try to see things from their perspective and give them the support they need to be successful,” Gallingane said. “I act as an advocate because I care about their experience at UF.”

The award is named in honor of James N. Anderson, who served as the first dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1910 until 1930. Anderson Hall bears his name.

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Faculty mentors honored were Mary Ann Nelson (l-r), Ashley MacSuga-Gage and Caitlin Gallingane.

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Marissa Elordi

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Mallory Wood

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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.”

Contacts
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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Business school taps science ed. professor as Entrepreneurship Fellow

Griff Jones1

Griff Jones, clinical associate professor of science education

Griff Jones, a clinical associate professor of science education at the University of Florida College of Education, has been selected as an Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow by the UF Warrington College of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Jones, who serves as director and principal investigator for the Florida STEM Teacher Induction and Professional Support (STEM TIPS) initiative, received the honor based on his proposal to expand the scope of STEM TIPS, which he began developing two years ago after receiving a $2.3 million grant from the Florida Department of Education.

The innovative program addresses the challenges of retaining beginning math and science teachers in grades 6-12 through use of an online, mobile-ready coaching and professional development platform. Implementation and field-testing is under way in several Florida school districts, including Duval, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, as well as 15 districts comprising the Northeast Florida Educational Consortium.

Funding for the initial platform has run out, but as an Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow, Jones will be able to continue its development by adding a viable, self-sustaining business plan created through a subscription-based model to ensure sustainability and continuous improvement of the STEM TIPS program.

“I’d like to expand the scale of our model to assist institutions and organizations across the nation in their efforts to prepare highly qualified and passionate STEM teachers for K-12 schools,” Jones said. “And I’d like to provide ongoing support to new teachers that will enhance their professional development and keep them in the classroom.”

Jones received his Ph.D. and M.Ed. degrees in science education from UF after earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Florida Southern College. He taught science at P.K. Yonge, UF’s K-12 developmental research school in Gainesville, for 20 years before becoming a full-time COE faculty member in 2007.

Jones specializes in designing effective, inquiry-based interdisciplinary science programs, and has authored several highly successful and nationally disseminated science textbooks, curriculum guides, online-course materials and science lab teaching materials.

He has collaborated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to develop several award-winning educational films focusing on STEM applications in analyzing car crashes that are used by thousands of teachers throughout the U.S. He also has received statewide and national recognition for his efforts as a K-adult science educator, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching awarded by the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, and The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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In Memoriam: Cecil D. Mercer, Ph.D., special education ‘giant’

MERCER, Cecil--pic from websiteCecil D. Mercer, a giant in his field during his 31 years (1974-2005) on the College of Education’s special education faculty, passed away at home on Nov. 21, 2014, after a long battle with Lyme disease. He was 71.

In 1998, Dr. Mercer became the first College of Education faculty member to be promoted to the rank of Distinguished Professor at UF. His nationwide studies of how various states were defining the term “learning disability”—and how their educators were using the term to identify and place students—led to improvements in many states and to more stringent oversight at the federal level. His research in mathematics yielded evidence to support systematic and explicit instruction for students with learning disabilities. He was a three-time recipient of the college’s Teacher of the Year Award and was named Doctoral Adviser/Mentor of the Year in 2001.

Dr. Mercer was the type of versatile, forward-thinking scholar that a university program needs to forge an enduring national reputation. That may explain why UF typically commanded a top 15 spot among special education programs in the yearly U.S. News national rankings during his tenure at UF.

He retired in 2005 after 31 years of teaching and research in a number of areas, including learning disabilities, mathematics, reading and effective teaching principles.

Perhaps the best measure of a scholar is the impact he’s had on both his students and his profession. Dr. Mercer is a three-time recipient of the college’s Teacher of the Year Award. He also was one of the most widely recognized names in the field of learning disabilities. His nationwide studies of how various states were defining the term “learning disability”—and how their educators were using the term to identify and place students—led to improvements in many states and to more stringent oversight at the federal level.

His research in mathematics yielded evidence to support systematic and explicit instruction for students with learning disabilities. He has published seven editions of his best selling text, Teaching Students with Learning Problems, considered one of the leading texts on instructing students with mild disabilities.

Dr. Mercer’s complete obituary can be viewed at http://www.williamsthomasfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Cecil-Mercer-2/#!/Obituary.

Dr. Mercer’s written philosophy on the importance of mentoring doctoral students remains posted on the UF Graduate School’s website since he received the UF Doctoral Mentoring Award for 2001-2002. You’ll find it at http://graduateschool.ufl.edu/academics/cecil-d-mercer.

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Spotlight shines thrice on Prof. Pringle as top science teacher educator

PRINGLE, Rose1With three major awards in less than three months, UF COE associate professor Rose Pringle is solidifying her reputation as one of the top science teacher educators around.

Over a recent six-week span, she received a regional award from the Southeastern Association of Science Teacher Education (SASTE), and state honors from the Florida Association of Teacher Educators (FATE) and the Florida Education Fund (FEF).

“This is affirmation that my colleagues not only notice what I’m doing, but value what I’m doing,” she said.

Pringle traveled to Savannah in late September to receive the John Shrum Award for excellence and leadership in the education of science teachers at the SASTE annual conference. A week later, in early October, FATE bestowed Pringle with the Mary L. Collins Teacher Educator of the Year Award at its annual conference in Boca Raton.

When Nov. 9 rolls around, Pringle will accept the 2014 William R. Jones Outstanding Mentor Award from the Florida Education Fund, which promotes educational advancement for historically underrepresented groups. The Jones award honors exceptional faculty mentors from Florida colleges and universities who have empowered students in FEF’s McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program to complete their Ph.D. degree and prepare for a successful career in academia.

Pringle’s own graduate students were behind her nominations for all three awards. According to UF science education doctoral student Natalie King, colleagues and students alike turn to Pringle for mentorship.

“She has proved to be a caring mentor who leads by example and with humility,” King said.

PRINGLE, Rose3cDoctoral student Natalie Ridgewell said Pringle “strengthens both our program and field, and she helps to create an outstanding learning community.”

Pringle works with her faculty colleagues and doctoral students to develop, implement and evaluate teaching curricula consistent with education reform efforts for 21st century science learning. While teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, she has garnered more than $7 million in federal and state grants at UF to support her research and professional development work with practicing teachers.

Her research includes the exploration of preservice teachers as science learners, the development of science-specific teaching methods for prospective and practicing teachers, and translating these practices into engaging science experiences for all learners. Pringle’s also determined to increase the participation of minorities, especially girls of African descent, in science and mathematics.

“My goal is to have students in every science classroom in Florida be engaged in doing science in ways that are meaningful and equitable for all learners,” she said.

Pringle has been a COE faculty member since 2000 and has twice received the college’s Teacher of the Year Award.


CONTACTS
   SOURCE: Rose Pringle, associate professor, UF College of Education; rpringle@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4190
   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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Dean Good named to elite Abu Dhabi teacher education panel

UF College of Education Dean Glenn Good has been appointed to the blue-ribbon International Advisory Panel for the Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE), a teacher education and school development center affiliated with the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

Dean Glenn E. Good

Dean Glenn E. Good

Good joins an elite four-member panel that also includes education leaders from the Institute of Education at the University of London, the National Institute of Education-Singapore, and the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

His appointment occurs as UF’s College of Education and its Lastinger Center for Learning are adding a third year to a formal partnership with the Abu Dhabi group that is yielding unprecedented teacher advancement and exchange programs between the two institutions. The alliance supports efforts by the United Arab Emirates to prepare a fresh generation of educators for the new economy of Abu Dhabi.

Dean Good has accepted several key leadership posts over the past year, including committee and panel positions with the American Educational Research Association and the American Association of Universities.

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P.K. Yonge Spanish teacher honored for ‘excelencia’ as part of Hispanic Heritage Month

Excellence – or excelencia – in education is clearly evident in the teaching and learning activities occurring in Grisell Santiago’s Spanish classroom at P.K. Yonge. And this hasn’t gone unnoticed.

SANTIAGO, Grisell 2

Grisell Santiago

Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera presented Santiago and two other honorees with Hispanic Heritage Month Excellence in Education awards at the 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month reception at the Governor’s Mansion Oct. 2. Santiago won the teaching honor for the high school grades.

Celebrated since 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 and recognizes traditions, culture and contributions of Hispanics and Latino Americans. The Excellence in Education award recipients are nominated by students and peers and receive $1,500 donated by Volunteer Florida.

Seňora Santiago, as she is known around the P.K. Yonge campus, has taught at UF’s K-12 developmental research school for nine years and distinguishes herself as a dedicated, engaged and creative educator. She also serves as vice president of the Florida Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese and will move up to president in 2015.

In collaboration with the world languages department at UF, Santiago hosts an annual teaching workshop for Sharing Best Practices for the World Languages Classroom. She also implements new and innovative methods of teaching and learning, as evidenced by her participation in the P.K. Yonge Blended Learning project. The project was featured this fall on the documentary video series “A School That Works,” produced by Edutopia.org, an education reform website produced by the George Lucas Foundation.

Muy Buena, Sra. Santiago!

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Incentive grant boosts ed. tech professor’s research merging education and neuroscience

Pavlo “Pasha” Antonenko has received the College of Education’s 2014-15 College Research Incentive Fund (CRIF) grant which will help the education technology faculty member conduct cutting-edge research on the neurological dynamics of individuals during group problem-solving activities.

Pasha EEG1

Pavlo “Pasha” Antonenko and doctoral student Jiahui Wang discuss Wang’s EEG data as it shows up on a computer screen.“Working with others to solve the complex challenges of our global society is an important 21 century skill,” Antonenko said. “Now we’ll be able to obtain important brain-based data on how individuals collaborate within a group, and how that can be applied to teaching techniques.”

“Working with others to solve the complex challenges of our  global society is an important 21st century skill,” Antonenko said. “Now we’ll be able to obtain important brain-based data on how individuals collaborate within a group, and how that can be applied to teaching techniques.”

 The COE gives its annual CRIF grant, worth $40,000, to education faculty members with promising and meaningful research projects that are likely to attract additional funding.

Antonenko, an associate professor, used part of his grant to buy the latest in wireless electroencephalogram (EEG) equipment that will allow him to measure brain-based factors involved in cognitive processing among student “teammates” solving a common problem.

“The fun part will come when they put on the EEG headgear and their brainwaves show up on the computer screen,” Ukraine-born Antonenko said with a laugh.

The EEG data, as well as behavioral measures of learning strategies and performance, will be analyzed to address whether neurodynamics — communication between different parts of the nervous system — align with behavioral measures of team problem-solving performance.

“We’ll also try to see whether it’s possible to devise such neurodynamic models to assess, predict, and improve performance in problem-solving teams,” Antonenko said.

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State, regional groups honor Pringle as top science teacher educator

Two major professional groups of teacher educators have honored University of Florida College of Education faculty member Rose Pringle with their top science teacher educator awards for 2014.

PRINGLE, Rose3bPringle, a UF associate professor in science education, received a state honor from the Florida Association of Teacher Educators (FATE) and a regional award from the Southeastern Association of Science Teacher Education (SASTE).

Pringle traveled to Savannah, Ga. to receive the John Shrum Award for excellence in the education of science teachers at the SASTE annual conference Sept. 26-27.

A week later, FATE presented Pringle with the Mary L. Collins Teacher Educator of the Year Award at its conference Oct.4-5 in Boca Raton for her significant contributions to teacher education in Florida.

“This is affirmation that my colleagues not only notice what I’m doing, but value what I’m doing,” she said.

Pringle teaches science education courses to college undergraduate and graduate students both face-to-face and online. She helps develop, implement and evaluate teaching curricula consistent with education reform efforts for 21st century science learning.

According to Natalie King, UF science education doctoral student, colleagues and students alike turn to Pringle for mentorship. Pringle oversees graduate teaching assistants in the College of Education who use curricula she has developed over the years.

“She has proved to be a caring mentor who leads by example and with humility,” King said. “She not only recognized my passion, but also tapped into my potential to be a successful graduate student and an advocate for change in science education.”

Through mentorship, Pringle has developed meaningful relationships with many of her doctoral students. King nominated her for the SASTE award and UF doctoral student Natalie Ridgewell nominated Pringle for the FATE award.

“In every capacity, Dr. Pringle strengthens both our program and field, and she helps to create an outstanding learning community,” Ridgewell said.

Pringle has garnered more than $7 million in federal and state grants at UF to support her work. Her special research interests include elements of effective science instruction, assessment and increasing the participation of minorities, especially girls of African descent, in science and mathematics.

Working with Lynda Hayes, director of UF’s P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, Pringle is a co-principal investigator on a $5 million grant, awarded by the National Science Foundation, designed to transform middle-school science education in Florida. The project, known as U-FUTuRES (University of Florida Unites Teachers to Reform Education in Science), involves creating cadres of highly trained science teacher leaders around the state who will educate and energize other teachers in their school districts with a new kind of science teaching.

“My goal is to have every science classroom in Florida have students studying science in ways that are meaningful and equitable for all learners,” Pringle said.

These recent awards aren’t Pringle’s first recognition as a premier teacher educator. A COE faculty member since 2000, she is a two-time recipient of the college’s Teacher of the Year Award, selected in 2002 and 2000.


Contacts
   Source: Rose Pringle; rpringle@coe.ufl.edu; 352.273.4190
   Writer: Candice Wynter, College of Education Office of News and Communications; cwynter@ufl.edu; phone 813-317-8735.

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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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Statistics scholar fills ‘big data’ faculty posts at COE, new UF institute

GAINESVILLE, Fla.—A  Harvard-trained statistical researcher and expert in online network modeling has filled one of the College of Education’s four faculty positions created in support of the University of Florida’s preeminence initiative to become one of the nation’s top 10 public research universities.

THOMAS, AndrewAndrew C. Thomas, a research scientist in statistics at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), will become an associate professor in the Research and Evaluation Methodology program at UF’s College of Education. His appointment takes effect in January.

Thomas, who received his doctorate in statistics from Harvard in 2009, also will join a campuswide consortium of faculty scientists in landmark “big data” studies at the new UF Informatics Institute, one of UF’s major preeminence initiatives. The institute’s big-data science initiative is one of 28 high-potential areas of science and scholarship targeted by UF for investment of state preeminence funds. 

The Informatics Institute unites a team of educators, engineers, scientists, artists, natural scientists and other UF faculty researchers in an ambitious push to harness the vast amounts of data now generating in the world and apply them to advancing a wide range of vital areas in education and the social sciences.

“Ninety percent of data that exists today was created in the last two years. Collecting and analyzing immense amounts of data has been a challenge up to now,” said UF education dean Glenn Good. “Dr. Thomas’s expertise in online networks and large data management align well with our efforts to harness informatic analysis and apply it to resolve societal issues. At the College of Education, his contributions will help us better understand national education trends and conduct large-scale effectiveness studies of best  teaching practices.”

Thomas, currently an affiliate faculty member of CMU’s Living Analytics Research Center in Pittsburgh, has focused his investigations on the formation and workings of complex online networks and measuring peer influence between members on a social network. At CMU, he worked on collaborative university-industry studies designed to improve the handling and examination of large data sources, including new sources such as education.

“Much of my recent work focuses on network models that give us information about the individuals themselves who belong to the network,” said Thomas, who has worked at CMU since completing his Harvard Ph.D. studies. “The richness of multiple networks in education, through students in classrooms and teachers in schools, makes this an exciting area of development that I will continue to pursue at the University of Florida.”

Thomas said he looks forward to being part of the collaborative effort at the UF Information Institute where “the trick will be developing computational systems that can cope with large volumes of data.”

Thomas has made numerous presentations and published several research reports, including an encyclopedia article on network modeling. He has applied his statistics know-how to a wide range of fields including political science, public policy, demography, environmental engineering and sports. The Canadian native, a huge ice hockey fan, last year co-authored an article in the Annals of Applied Statistics on statistical approaches for measuring individual player contributions in hockey games. 

Thomas brings two large research grants on network modeling with him to UF worth more than $640,000 combined—one from the National Science Foundation and another from the federal Institute of Educational Sciences.

He said he’s also excited about continuing his teaching and mentoring in the evolving field of data science education at UF.

The big data informatics project is one of three College of Education initiatives that UF administrators targeted for investment of preeminence funds, to the tune of $3.8 million. The other two involve optimizing early childhood development and advancing personalized online learning.

The Florida Legislature in 2013 identified UF as the state’s preeminent university and is giving the university $15 million a year for five years to spend on improving areas that would help it become one of the nation’s top 10 public research universities. The Legislature gave UF another $5 million this spring for the push.

UF President Bernie Machen has pledged to match the state money with $75 million in private donations and spend $150 million on recruiting 120 world-class and up-and-coming faculty to strengthen UF’s research and academic missions.


CONTACTS
    SOURCE: Andrew Thomas, PhD, acthomas@stat.cmu.edu, 412-268-3556
    WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137

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Ed. psychology scholar awarded prestigious UF Research Foundation Professorship

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David Therriault, an associate professor of educational psychology in the College of Education, never seems to find enough time to sit down.

UF COE education psychology scholar David Therriault is happier about his research being recognized than he is about any personal accolades that result from his studies.

“Learning about learning is very important to me, so I’m just proud that something I love to do is being highlighted,” Therriault said after recently being awarded a prestigious University of Florida Research Foundation (UFRF) Professorship. “Whatever helps to bolster the usefulness of my study results makes me happy.”

The UFRF professorships are given to tenured UF faculty members who have distinguished records of research as a way to recognize their contributions and provide incentives for continued excellence in research. Thirty-three UF professors were named this year, and each will receive a $5,000 annual salary supplement and a $3,000 grant to support his or her research.

Therriault is an associate professor of educational psychology in the COE’s School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education (SHDOSE). His main academic interest always has been the psychology of education, which is why his work at UF has focused on the empirical study of the mental processes that shape the way we learn. Such nuances include the representation of text in memory; comprehending time and space in language; the link between attention and intelligence; the use of perceptual symbols in language; and problem solving in engineering.

“I’m actually kind of a weird fit in the college because some people still don’t know what I do here,” Therriault said with a laugh. “I started taking psychology courses when I first went to college and never stopped. My interests within my field are all over the place.”

SHDOSE director Harry Daniels might disagree.

“There is clear evidence that Dr. Therriault is an active and productive scholar, and that his scholarship informs others who conduct similar types of research,” Daniels wrote in a letter of recommendation for the professorship.

Daniels’ letter also pointed out that Therriault’s published articles in scholarly journals – which total more than 25, including 14 in the past five years — have had a “high impact rating” on their audiences.

“The interdisciplinary nature of Dr. Therriault’s research deserves special recognition,” Daniels wrote, explaining that Therriault has developed relationships with UF College of Engineering faculty to address some of the critical issues of scientific problem solving within the field of engineering.

The objective in working with the College of Engineering is to measure empirically how two seemingly disparate disciplines can benefit each other, according to Therriault, who received $805,000 in grant money to examine how engineering students solve open-ended problems. 

Therriault also received an $83,000 UF research opportunity grant in 2011 that enabled him to develop a kindergarten-level reading disabilities screening battery called the Kindergarten Cognitive and Reading Assessment Tool for iPad (K-CRATI). The assessment tool is being designed to allow educators to effectively catch at-risk students early in their elementary schooling.

“If past performance is truly the best predictor of future behavior, there is every reason to believe that Dr. Therriault will utilize the [research professorship] to further his agenda,” Daniels concluded.

Therriault received his bachelor’s degree at the University of New Hampshire before earning a master’s degree and his Ph.D. – both in cognitive psychology — from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He joined UF’s education psychology faculty in 2004.


Contacts
    Source: David Therriault, UF College of Education; therriault@coe.ufl.edu; phone 352-273-4345.
    Media Relations: 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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Second Preeminence Professor appointed in early childhood studies

The University of Florida College of Education has filled its second Preeminence faculty position in early childhood studies, appointing Mary McLean, an endowed professor in early childhood education and director of the Early Childhood Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

McLEAN, MaryMcLean, a prominent researcher and leading author of textbooks on assessment of infants and preschoolers with special needs, will join the UF education faculty on Aug. 16 as a professor in the college’s School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies. 

Her appointment follows on the heels of the recent hiring of that program’s first Preeminence faculty member, Brian Reichow, an emerging scholar of behavioral interventions for young children with autism and developmental disabilities. Both will be affiliated with UF’s interdisciplinary Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies (CEECS), based in the College of Education.

McLean and Reichow are among more than three dozen distinguished faculty members recruited from around the world as part of UF’s “Preeminence Plan” to rise among the nation’s top public research universities. They are in the first wave of an estimated 120 faculty to be recruited this year and in 2015. Both will join the multi-college Preeminence initiative focused on “optimizing early childhood development and learning experiences.”

“With the recruitment of Dr. McLean, we are fortunate to bring one the nation’s most preeminent and productive scholars in early childhood special education to the University of Florida,” said Glenn Good, dean of UF’s College of Education. “Her leadership with the Early Childhood Research Center at Wisconsin offers the perfect background and expertise for the interdisciplinary collaborations she will be involved with at UF.”

Along with her groundbreaking work in the assessment of young children, McLean has co-authored the first three editions of Recommended Practices in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education, an undertaking of the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the international Council for Exceptional Children. The latest revision occurred this year. She is a past president of DEC and currently chairs the group’s Recommended Practices Commission.

 “I was immediately drawn to the Preeminence faculty position at the University of Florida because of the focus on strong interdisciplinary collaborations with recognized leaders in early childhood studies like Pat Snyder and Maureen Conroy at the CEECS,” McLean said. “It’s a grand opportunity to work together toward innovations helping young children and their families and then applying those innovations to help close the gap between research and practice for all children.”

McLean, who has a doctorate in early childhood special education from UWM, also has held faculty positions at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, Auburn University, the University of North Dakota, and Cardinal Stritch University. She has edited seven books and written numerous refereed articles, book chapters and professionals papers.

Her other research interests include intervention practices, and cultural and linguistic diversity, and she has received 10 personnel preparation grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Since 1997, McLean has worked with the California Department of Education on the development of a statewide assessment program for children from birth through age 4.

Since 2010, she has partnered with the Head Start national Center for Quality Teaching and Learning at the University of Washington, developing training and technical assistance materials on child assessment. 

McLean has been teaching in higher education for 32 years and was named Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member while at Auburn. She was a special education teacher for two years in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools before starting her doctoral studies, and also was the supervising teacher for the early development assistance program at the John F. Kennedy Center Experimental School at Peabody College, where she earned her master’s in special education.

UF has earmarked state Preeminence funds for four new “all-star” College of Education faculty positions: two in early childhood studies (McLean’s and Reichow’s), one in education technology (filled by Carole Beal, who will head UF’s new Online Learning Institute), and one in “big data” informatics research in education (Andrew Thomas).


CONTACTS
    SOURCE: Mary McLean, marymclean@coe.ufl.edu; 414-229-2213
    WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137

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Teen traffic deaths inspire UF professors to write award-winning article, “A Science That Saves Lives’

Griff Jones, a clinical associate professor of science education in the UF College of Education, knows only too well that the laws of physics apply to everyone.

“I was a high school physics teacher, and I lost a lot of students to car crashes,” said Jones, who spent two decades teaching at UF’s P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School in Gainesville. “Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among teenagers.”

COE professors Linda and Griff Jones send a hand-made paper test car down a race track Griff Jones designed using sections of a plastic rain gutter.

COE professors Linda and Griff Jones send a hand-made paper test car down a race track Griff Jones designed using sections of a plastic rain gutter.

That’s why Jones and his wife, Linda Jones, a COE associate professor of science and environmental education, co-authored a cover story titled “A Science That Saves Lives” for the January 2013 issue of The Science Teacher, an academic journal sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association.

Their efforts paid off when the Association of American Publishers named their article a finalist in the Distinguished Achievement Award category of the recently held Revere Awards competition. The Revere Awards is the most prestigious recognition program in the learning resource community, according to the Association of Educational Publishers, which once sponsored the awards under a different name.

Receiving accolades for articles isn’t new to the husband-wife research team, but gaining recognition for their story on motor vehicle crashes involving teens meant something special.

“When I worked on my Ph.D. at UF, part of my dissertation was to help the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety write and produce a science education video for students on the understanding of car crashes,” said Griff Jones, who also is director of the COE’s STEM Teacher Induction and Professional Support (STEM TIPS) program. “The number of teen traffic deaths has gone down, but there are still way too many – more than 2,800 a year.”

Together the Joneses not only have kept up with matters related to physical science, but human behavior as well. Their cover story is based on research suggesting that a lack of emotional and cognitive maturity among teenagers increases risky driving practices such as speeding, tailgating and not wearing seat belts. 

Their article outlines a “truly life-saving teaching lesson” for high school science educators by combining Internet research with classroom “crash tests” using paper cars designed and built by students; a 6-meter “race track” made from plastic rain gutter sections; a step ladder; and a concrete block that serves as an abrupt “finish line.”

Raw eggs serve as vehicle occupants, and damage to them is measured and recorded at different speeds made possible by placing the track’s starting line on a higher rung of the ladder. Students are challenged to create cars with front ends weak enough to absorb the energy of a high-speed crash, yet strong enough to remain intact and protect the egg.       

By project’s end, students have learned to apply two physics concepts used in real-world vehicle safety engineering: momentum and impulse. Momentum is the mass of an object multiplied by its velocity, and measures the difficulty of stopping a moving object. Impulse is the net momentum change during a collision and is measured as the product of the average force exerted on an object.

“It really makes students confront themselves with their misconceptions about their chances of surviving a crash,” said Linda Jones, who serves as coordinator of the COE’s science and environmental education program. “They also learn about the vital role seat belts play in surviving a head-on collision.”

The Joneses’ article can be found at www.nsta.org, the National Science Teachers Association website.

CONTACTS:
    Source: Griff Jones, UF College of Education; gjones@coe.ufl.edu;   
    Source: Linda Jones, UF College of Education; ljones@coe.ufl.edu.
    Liaison: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; llansford@coe.ufl.edu
    Writer: Stephen Kindland, staff writer, UF College of Education; skindland@coe.ufl.edu

 

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FATE has Timmons on presidential track

Crystal Timmons

Crystal Timmons

Crystal Timmons, a UF professor-in-residence in the Duval County school district for the College of Education’s Lastinger Center for Learning, is the new president-elect of the Florida Association of Teacher Educators.

Her one-year term as president-elect, starting in October, puts her on track to automatically assume the presidency of FATE in 2015-16. She will continue serving on the group’s board of directors the following year as immediate past president.

“I’m asking for support and feedback from anyone who is involved with FATE to help us strengthen our mission to improve the effectiveness of teacher education,” Timmons said. “A strong state unit ultimately enhances the efforts of the national Association of Teacher Educators.”

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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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Smooth leadership transition for School of Teaching and Learning

The University of Florida College of Education’s School of Teaching and Learning, the hub of teacher preparation and K-12 educator advancement at UF, is undergoing a smooth change in leadership, with the former STL director working closely with her successor to ensure a seamless transition.

The college has hired one of its own, Ester de Jong, an associate professor of ESOL/bilingual education, to succeed Elizabeth “Buffy” Bondy, who has directed STL since 2008. Bondy stepped down May 16 after six challenging but fruitful years at the helm to return, full time, to her role as professor in the school’s curriculum, teaching and teacher education program.

“It is gratifying how Dr. Bondy and Dr. de Jong have worked together during this transition,” said Dean Glenn Good. “Ester should continue the tradition of excellence that the leadership of the School of Teaching and Learning is known for. Our faculty and their students are sure to flourish under her guidance. 

De Jong said her first priority as the new director “is to maintain the positive and collaborative culture in our school. I hope to support faculty in creative ways so they can be at the cutting edge in their areas of expertise locally, nationally and internationally.

Ester de Jong

Ester de Jong

“Together we can shape not only theoretical understandings about teaching and learning, but also policy and practice, particularly as it is unfolding for diverse learners.”

De Jong, who has an Ed.D. in literacy, language and cultural studies from Boston University, joined the UF education faculty in 2001. She is in the final year of a three-year term as the college’s B.O. Smith Research Professorship, which supports her study of teachers’ use and modeling of academic vocabulary and specific language structures into students’ oral language use.

She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in language and literature studies from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, her native country. From 1996-2001, she was the assistant bilingual director for Framingham Public Schools near Boston, and also taught as a lecturer at nearby Harvard University and Simmons College.

Her Framingham district administrator job is one of several leadership posts she has held. At UF, she has headed STL’s ESOL/bilingual academic program, served as principal investigator on several federal and foundation research grants, and chaired the college’s 2013-14 Faculty Policy Council. She also served on the board of directors for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association and was a member of a Florida Department of Education review panel for the state ESOL teacher exam.

Her  research interests include language policy, bilingual education and mainstream teacher preparation for bilingual learners. Last year, de Jong received the Award for Excellence in Research on Bilingual Education from the national Association of Two-Way and Dual Language Education (ATDLE). 

She is the lead investigator on one of the college’s most ambitious research efforts called Project DELTA (Developing English Language and Literacy through Teacher Achievement). It’s a seven-year, $1.2 million undertaking funded by the U.S. Department of Education to assess and advance the teaching of English language learners in Florida’s public schools.

De Jong published a book in 2011 titled “Foundations of Multilingualism in Education: From Principles to Practice” (Caslon Publishing), which focuses on working with multilingual children in K-12 schools. She is widely published and has served in editorial posts for several peer-review journals on bilingual and language education and policy. 

WATCH THE VIDEO: Message from Ester de Jong, the new director of STL

Bondy: now is ‘right time’ for change

Elizabeth "Buffy" Bondy

Elizabeth “Buffy” Bondy

After six years as STL director, Buffy Bondy said “it just feels like the right time” to make way for a new leader.

“My title has been both STL director and professor, but I haven’t been able to contribute as much as I should on the professor side,” Bondy said. “I want to do a better job as a professor, and that is what I really love.”

Bondy received her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from UF in 1984, worked at the College of Education as a visiting or adjunct instructor for five years, and joined the curriculum and instriuction faculty as an assistant professor in 1989. In 2008, she replaced Tom Dana as STL director when Dana became the college’s associate dean for academic affairs. Working with then-Dean Catherine Emihovich and her executive team, Bondy guided STL through the lion’s share of seven consecutive years of severe cuts in state spending on higher education.

From the start, Bondy said her focus was to create conditions favorable for STL faculty members and their students to excel. She continued to nurture the caring and collegial social climate that she had come to appreciate during her years on the faculty.

“Responding to the financial crisis, we’ve had to work in new ways and find new streams of revenue,” Bondy said. “Our goal has been smart programming, brilliant research and improved service.”

It took joint efforts between the dean’s office, the STL faculty and the school’s strategic collaborations with the Lastinger Center for Learning for both the school and the college to not only survive, but thrive.

During Bondy’s tenure as director, STL became a major player in the college’s expanding distance learning enterprise. Some of the new offerings in e-learning include an online M.Ed. program in language and literacy education and online doctorates in both education technology and in curriculum, teaching and teacher education. The blended Teacher Leadership for School Improvement degree has been named the nation’s top teacher education program by the Association of Teacher Educators.

Other advances while Bondy was on watch include shifting to a yearlong internship for ProTeach students and forging a multi-pronged partnership with Nanjing Xioazhuang University in China.

Bondy also garnered funding for vital building improvements in vintage Norman Hall, designed to group faculty members with common research interests together. These include renovated space in the Education Library basement for computer labs and offices for education technology faculty, and for new offices and work stations for STEM education faculty and doctoral students. She also added new infrastructure to help faculty researchers’ efforts to secure outside funding.

Bondy, who plans to take a one-semester sabbatical in spring of 2015, said she expects faculty and students in the School of Teaching and Learning to prosper under de Jong’s leadership.

“It is time for new ideas,” Bondy said. “Ester is extremely capable and a very quick study. She’s a top scholar, has strong leadership qualities and brings tremendous energy and enthusiasm to the job.”


CONTACTS
   SOURCE: Ester de Jong, UF College of Education, edejong@coe.ufl.edu
   SOURCE: Elizabeth “Buffy” Bondy, UF College of Education, bondy@coe.ufl.edu
   WRITER:  Larry Lansford, news and communications office, UF College of Education; llansford@coe.ufl.edu

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Waldron named associate dean for student affairs

WALDRON, NancySchool psychology professor Nancy Waldron, a UF College of Education faculty member since 1999, has been named associate dean for student affairs at the college.

Waldron’s appointment will take effect on June 30, when she will replace longtime COE administrator Theresa Vernetson, who is retiring after 41 years at the college as a student and employee.

Waldron also is the current associate director of the School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies. She previously headed the school psychology program and chaired the COE Faculty Policy Council.

Her core values and educational philosophy seem well suited for the student affairs post.

“The most rewarding aspect of my work as a faculty member has been mentoring and serving as an adviser to doctoral and specialist students,” she wrote in her letter of application. “A strong commitment to student advocacy and supporting individual needs has always guided my work with students.”

She has held several leadership positions in the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), while her research and scholarship activities have focused on the inclusion of students with disabilities, implementation of multi-tiered systems of support, and school psychology preparation.

Waldron has been a professor-in-residence at UF’s P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School for that past 10 years, working collaboratively with school leaders and colleagues in the development of a model site for school psychology services and field-based experiences for graduate students.

Her scholarship and impact on the field has been recognized through her selection as a fellow of the Division of School Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA).   

Everyone’s a mathematician at heart

Tim Jacobbe believes you’re a mathematician at heart—you just might not know it yet.

Forget the rote memorization of tedious formulas you may recall from your high school math classes. For Jacobbe, associate professor of mathematics and statistics education at the UF College of Education, math is far more than formulas: It’s a way of looking at the world

Jacobbe helps P.K. Yonge School fifth-graders on a math lesson.

Jacobbe helps P.K. Yonge School fifth-graders on a math lesson.

“I don’t think that people understand what math is,” Jacobbe says. “It’s about creating people that can solve problems in everyday life.”

And in a society increasingly driven by data, math is more important than ever, Jacobbe says. A solid understanding of statistics, which use a methodical process to analyze data, draw conclusions and interpret results, is particularly key to scrutinizing and solving real-world problems. Whether you’re deciding to change jobs, buy a house, or just making a pros and cons list, you’re using statistics—yet this discipline has long been overlooked in K-12 education.

Jacobbe is working to change that by training the next generation of teachers in statistics education. He once worked as a primary test developer for the advanced placement statistics program, but thought he could make a bigger impact in teacher education. At UF, he earned the college’s Undergraduate Teacher of the Year award in 2011, and he also leads a four-year, $2 million study funded by the National Science Foundation to develop better tests for assessing students’ statistical understanding.

His efforts to advance statistics education haven’t gone unnoticed by his peers. Jonathan Bostic, who earned a Ph.D. from UF in 2011 with Jacobbe as his co-adviser, says his former mentor is one of just a handful of experts widely recognized in the field. “There are very, very few folks like him in the United States,” says Bostic, now an assistant professor of mathematics education at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University.

Since 2009, Jacobbe has also devoted himself to helping teachers and students at UF’s P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School transition to the new, more stringent Florida Standards. This work at P.K. Yonge has a personal component for Jacobbe: His wife of 15 years, Elizabeth, teaches at the school, and his 10-year-old daughter, Hannah, and 7-year-old son, Nathan, are both students there.

“We need to teach math in different ways,” Jacobbe says. “Math is used as a gatekeeper to keep kids out of certain careers. Everyone is capable of doing mathematics, they just need the opportunity.”

Jacobbe’s desire to create opportunities for kids extends beyond math: It’s also a key element of the charity he founded in honor of his nephew, Caleb Jacobbe, who passed away from cancer in 2006 at the age of 8. Caleb’s Pitch aims to brighten the lives of seriously ill children and their families, bringing collegiate athletes into hospitals to visit with sick kids and organizing “syringe art” sessions, where children turn the medical implements into painting tools.

“Our mission is to help kids have fun while they’re going through that stuff,” Jacobbe says.

Whether honoring his nephew’s memory or giving teachers the tools necessary to help students excel, Jacobbe’s driving principle boils down to one simple formula: “I have a passion for helping people.”


Writer: Sarah L. Stewart (special to the College of Education)

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New COE autism scholar will work with early childhood studies center

REICHOW, Brian (jpeg). JPGThe University of Florida College of Education has appointed an emerging scholar of behavioral interventions for young children with autism and developmental disabilities to its faculty.

Brian Reichow, assistant professor of community medicine and health care and research director of the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the University of Connecticut Health Center, will join the UF faculty on July 7 as an associate professor in the college’s School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies. He also will be affiliated with the UF Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies (CEECS), a universitywide program based administratively in the College of Education.

Reichow will join another multi-college effort focused on “optimizing early childhood development and learning experiences”—one of the research focuses of UF’s state-supported “preeminence initiative” to become recognized as one of the nation’s top 10 public research universities.

“I’m excited about joining these interdisciplinary opportunities with colleagues across campus,” said Reichow, who with his current UCHC post also holds an adjunct faculty position at Yale Child Study Center at Yale University. “They will allow me to continue and expand my work with young children who have disabilities to ensure they and their families achieve best outcomes.”

Reichow’s research focuses on advancing evidence-based practices for helping children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities of the nervous system and identifying support services to assist these children and their families achieve best outcomes.

He is also collaborating with the World Health Organization to develop identification and intervention programs for young children with neurodevelopmental disorders in lower- and middle-income countries through the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme. 

“Dr. Reichow is a well-respected scholar with an impressive record of accomplishments in this field,” said Patricia Snyder, co-director of the UF CEECS and holder of the Lawrence endowed chair in early childhood studies. “His research and teaching will complement our collaborative work with colleagues across the college and university, particularly research that directly connects to practice in early childhood studies.”

Reichow earned his doctorate and master’s degrees in early childhood special education from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. He has a bachelor’s in elementary education and psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He came highly recommended for the UF position from Fred Volkmar, an endowed professor and director of the Yale Child Study Center at Yale University, where Reichow was a postdoctoral associate from 2008 to 2010 and was a faculty member from 2010 to 2013.

“In the time I’ve known (Brian), he has become a leader in the field of evidence-based treatments in autism,” Volkmar wrote in a letter of recommendation for Reichow. “For a relatively young investigator, he has been remarkably productive . . . and his work has stimulated the field.”

Reichow has authored some 40 peer-reviewed publications, 15 book chapters and has edited several books. He is the book review editor for the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and serves on the editorial board of four scholarly journals in the field.


SOURCE: Brian Reichow, reichow@uchc.edu; breichow@alumni.unc.edu; 203-824-6973

UF SOURCES: Patricia Snyder (patriciasnyder@coe.ufl.edu) and Maureen Conroy (mconroy@coe.ufl.edu); UF College of Education and the UF Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies; 352-273-4291

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

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Adams, Vernetson named to FLDOE review panel

Alyson Adams3

Alyson Adams, clinical associate professor in the COE’s School of Teaching and Learning, and Theresa Vernetson, assistant dean of student affairs, have been named to the Florida Department of Education’s statewide review panel charged with advising the Florida education commissioner on revisions to protocol standards for district professional development systems. 

Their appointments to the Professional Development Protocol Revisions Update panel helps to position the COE as a frontline player in the development of state education policies and practices as they relate to Learning Forward — formerly known as the National Staff Development Council.

“Florida has an intensive cycle of reviews of professional development practices and policies in each school district,” said Adams, who also is chief learning officer for the college’s Lastinger Center for Learning. “Dr. Vernetson was on the team of people who conceptualized this more than 10 years ago, and they’re pausing the process to review the entire set of statewide professional development standards as well as the review process.”

Adams and Vernetson both plan to attend the first in a series of five or six panel meetings on June 6 in Orlando.

 As clinical associate professor, Adams works within job-embedded graduate programs for practicing educators focused on teacher leadership and practitioner research in local contexts. Her work with the college’s Lastinger Center for Learning includes professional development initiatives for teachers in high-poverty schools throughout the state.

Although retiring later this month after 41 years at the College of Education as both a student and long-time administrator, Vernetson will continue serving on the FLDOE review panel.

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Top teacher for undergraduates never doubted her destiny

Something about COE clinical associate professor Penny Cox’s destiny “clicked” four decades ago when the college’s recently named Undergraduate Teacher of the Year overheard a conversation between her mother and a stranger in Jacksonville, Fla.

“We just moved into a new house and our washing machine wasn’t set up, so my mother and I went to a laundromat,” said Cox, a special education faculty member. “My mother and a special education teacher got to talking, and something the teacher said just clicked for me. I was only 12 years old, but I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”

True to her word, and to herself, Cox went on to earn her undergraduate and master’s degrees in special education at the University of North Florida before spending the next 17 years teaching special education in Jacksonville’s public schools system.

Feeling the need for a change but wanting to remain in her field, Cox went on to earn her Ph.D. in special education at UF in 2001. She has been a COE faculty member ever since, and was instrumental in developing the COE’s Teach Well online degree program, which prepares teachers and aspiring teachers of all backgrounds to work with students with disabilities.

Cox also stays busy by serving as the COE’s special education program coordinator and playing an advisory role to students in the Unified Elementary ProTeach program, as well as graduate students pursuing dual certification.

Cox also has touched the lives of non-education majors, including Cassidy Langford, an occupational therapy student who completed one of Cox’s courses in teaching children with disabilities.

“Thanks to her influence, I want to work as an occupational therapist in a school district,” said Langford, who went on to serve as one of Cox’s teaching assistants and will begin her senior year this fall. “Dr. Cox’s teaching is unique. I felt her passion for special education and that passion shines through in her teaching.

“I can still remember and reference the guest speakers we had in my class and how they impacted me during their lecture — and that was almost four years ago.”

Jean Crockett, director of the college’s School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies, referred to Cox as a “fearless instructor who readily rises to the challenge of teaching new courses and large numbers of students” in one of five letters of recommendation submitted to the Teacher-of-the-Year selection committee.

Also, according to Crockett, Cox was among the first special education faculty members to become proficient in distance education course delivery.  

“She has generously shared her knowledge and enthusiasm for distance learning, and has helped many of her colleagues … achieve a better sense of efficacy in online teaching,” Crockett wrote.

Cox says her award serves as an incentive to continue being innovative.

“The more you learn, the more you don’t know,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve had some really good students, and our ProTeach program really whips them into shape for their careers as teachers. Principals at many different schools throughout Florida speak highly of our graduates.”

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UF honors Special Ed’s Stephen Smith for mentoring Ph.D. students

Ask University of Florida special education doctoral candidate Donna Pitts to describe Stephen W. Smith, her faculty adviser and supervisor on two federal research grants on which she works as a research assistant, and she can give you two answers.

Professor Smith picks a shady spot on the front lawn of Norman Hall to review a spreadsheet with second-year doctoral students Michelle Cumming and Kristin Merrill.

Professor Smith picks a shady spot on the front lawn of Norman Hall to review a spreadsheet with second-year doctoral students Michelle Cumming and Kristin Merrill.

There’s her academic response: “Dr. Smith has been an encouragement at every step (of my doctoral experience), and is always available as teacher, trainer, mentor and adviser.”

And there’s the deeply personal side: “Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with cancer, and through the diagnosis, treatment and recovery Dr. Smith supported me with the utmost of compassion and encouragement. I am honored to have such an accomplished, caring and supportive individual as my adviser and committee chair.”

Pitts’ remarks are atypical in that her tough but triumphant battle with cancer figures into her UF doctoral experience. But many of Smith’s current and former students echo Pitts’ comments about the personal attention and compassion he imparts on his students.

That explains why Smith, one of the College of Education’s most prolific researchers and grant generators, is one of just six University of Florida professors to receive its 2014 Doctoral Mentoring Award. The campuswide honor recognizes excellence, innovation and effectiveness in mentoring doctoral students through their final dissertation projects. Each year, the UF Graduate School awards faculty recipients with $1,000 for use in supporting their doctoral students.

“I believe the most critical aspect of education is the development of indeplendent learners,” Smith said. “I find mentoring, advising and supporting doctoral students in their work the most challenging and satisfying part of my professional duties.”

Jean Crockett, director of the college’s School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies, said Smith’s commitment to excellence in doctoral education “has been a significant factor” in the graduate program’s high national standing. (U.S. News and World Report rates UF’s special education program fifth nationally in its latest survey of America’s best graduate schools.)

In his 25-year academic career, Smith has generated more than $10 million through 26 research and training grants. For the past 16 years, his research has focused on developing new teaching tools and strategies to help students self-regulate their disruptive impulses and aggressive actions in the classroom.

At UF, Smith has received three teaching awards, a Top 100 UF Researcher award, and has served twice as a UF Distinguished Research Professor. He has served as a panel scientist for the federal Institute of Education Science’s social and behavioral education research division since 2008.

In 2012, his research advances earned him a prestigious three-year appointment to the college’s Irving and Rose Fien Endowed Professorship, which comes with money supporting doctoral student hires and technical assistance.

Over the years, Smith’s research and training projects have funded the dissertation studies of more than 30 Ph.D. students, not only in special education but also in school and educational psychology, research and evaluation methods, school counseling, and curriculum and instruction.

Smith draws his doctoral students into the research and teaching process—writing grant proposals, participating in team research meetings and working with senior faculty researchers on novel projects, presentations and research papers. A number of his students have received competitive scholarships and fellowships funding their dissertation research projects in collaboration with Smith’s investigations, and many often rise to leadership roles and learn to mentor each other.

In a letter supporting Smith for the mentoring award, UF second-year doctoral student Michelle Cumming cited Smith’s “infectious passion for the field.”

UF 2012 Ph.D. graduate Gregory Taylor, a special education instructor at the University of Ilinois, recalled  how in his first semester at UF Smith enlisted him to co-author a research manuscript that resulted in his first peer-reviewed academic publication. That experience, Taylor said, “infused confidence about my writing abilities that motivated me to complete my (doctorate) degree.”

Another of Smith’s former students, Christopher Van Loan, now in his sixth year as assistant professor at Appalachian State University, wrote: “As I have reflected back on my early career, I realize that his advice still guides me in most professional decisions.”

Smith believes successful mentors “must have the courage to hold students to high standards” and craft mentoring situations that enable students to acquire the skills they need.

“Mentors must have the insight to recognize the skill set that students bring to the table, and support them in developing their strengths while attending to some of their needs,” he said.


CONTACTS
   SOURCE: Stephen W. Smith, UF College of Education, swsmith@coe.ufl.edu
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; llansford@coe.ufl.edu

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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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CONTACTS 

   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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UF Anderson Scholars program taps 5 COE students, 3 faculty mentors

Five UF College of Education undergraduate students – all elementary education majors – have been named Anderson Scholars as a result of their high academic achievement, and three COE faculty members were honored for their mentorship.

The honored students are seniors Michelle Hylton and Lauren Wong; and juniors Zoey Bloom, Shelley Wolf and Megan Zucker.

Wolf, Wong, Zucker and Bloom received certificates of highest distinction for maintaining grade point averages of 4.0; and Hylton was given a certificate of distinction for earning a GPA between 3.90 and 3.94.

Education faculty honorees, who were nominated by students, are Ruth Lowery, associate professor of children’s literacy; Maryann Nelson, special education lecturer; and David Therriault, assistant professor of education psychology.

The Anderson Scholars award — established by the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to recognize outstanding academic achievements by undergraduates in their first two years of enrollment – is open to all UF students. The award is named in honor of James N. Anderson, who served as the first dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (1910-1930), after whom Anderson Hall is named. The award is considered a true mark of academic distinction.

Anderson Scholars 

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Art Sandeen, student affairs icon, honored as Distinguished Pillar in student personnel

In Arthur “Art” Sandeen’s 26 years as head of UF student affairs and 14 years as a College of Education professor, his love and advocacy of students gave the university community a friend and leader they knew they could count on. 

These traits help explain why the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) has chosen Sandeen to receive its 2014 John Blackburn Distinguished Pillar Award for his service to students and university communities. 

SANDEEN, Art (12-2013)_0009The award recognizes a past “Pillar of the Profession,” a title awarded by NASPA, who has continued to grow and strengthen the student affairs field. Sandeen was named a Pillar of the Profession in 1999. He will receive the Blackburn award at NASPA’s annual conference in March. 

Sandeen has been a professor of higher education administration at the College of Education since 1999. Prior to teaching at UF, Sandeen was an administrator of residential services at Michigan State University in the 1960s. Then, he was a professor and the dean of students at Iowa State University. In 1973, Sandeen joined the Gator Nation as the vice president for student affairs. 

UF’s Division of Student Affairs now honors Sandeen’s legacy through the Art Sandeen Outstanding New Professional Award, which is given annually to a student affairs staff member that exemplifies the values that Sandeen modeled: “dedication to the profession, a love for students, commitment to mentoring others in the profession, and a commitment to academic excellence.” UF’s student government also recognizes one faculty member each year with the C. Arthur Sandeen “Improving the Quality of Life” Award. 

Between 1999 and 2004, Sandeen served as coordinator of the graduate program in student personnel in higher education at the College of Education. But since 2004, Sandeen has “retired” three times, but something continues to draw him back to university life. He has been teaching part-time and serving on doctoral advisory committees since he first retired. 

“I have loved working with students at Michigan State, Iowa State and UF,” Sandeen said. “I strive for strong connections with my students because I think that is what you’re supposed to do if you care about students and about what they’re doing, and if you are trying to be of assistance to them in any way.” 

When wearing his professor hat, Sandeen teaches his students that establishing trusting relationships with students is one of the most important aspects of working in student affairs. He also advises his students to “be willing to change with the times.” 

Sandeen is exploring the latter quality in a new book he is writing with Margaret Barr, the former head of student affairs at Northwestern University. The book, which is the second to be published by the duo and Sandeen’s eighth overall, will focus on ways that student affairs administrators can best cater to today’s generation of college students. According to Sandeen, one of the biggest issues lies in how university student affairs will adjust to the increase in residential and face-to-face campuses moving online. 

Sandeen is also the author of three monographs, more than 50 published articles, and 21 book chapters. He received his bachelor’s degree in religion and psychology from Miami University in Ohio, and his master’s in college student personnel administration and a doctorate in administration and higher education from Michigan State University. 

He says he became intrigued by student affairs as a college student at Miami University in the late 1950s. At the time, Sandeen was very involved in campus life through his leadership positions in student government, Greek life and other organizations. He also worked in the dean of students office, where he met the vice president of student affairs. 

“I didn’t know anything about this field except what I learned from my involvement on campus,” Sandeen said. “But when the vice president of student affairs encouraged me to consider student affairs, I did, simple as that. I have loved it and have been very lucky.” 

The field of student affairs also opened up opportunities for Sandeen that met his interests in civil rights and social justice. After Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Miami University in the late 1950s, Sandeen realized that getting involved in student life meant getting involved with social issues. 

“I was a philosophy major, I loved ideas, and I was raised in a family in which we had a great concern for people and for rights,” he said. “During the Civil Rights Movement, I hated the injustice and I saw student affairs as a way to get involved in such social efforts.” 

Sandeen thinks that college students’ participation in campus activities is directly related to the quality of education they receive. According to Sandeen, “people learn in a variety of settings and different ways,” like dance groups, cultural organizations, honor societies and student media. At UF, students can choose from nearly 1,000 student organizations. 

“Students I’ve known over the years who get involved in something can learn more about themselves and different backgrounds and cultures, as well as how to get along with other people,” Sandeen said. “There’s a good deal of evidence that the students who really learn how to do those things aside from getting a degree are more likely to be successful in their lives.”


CONTACTS
Source: Art Sandeen, sandeen@ufl.edu
Writer: Alexa Lopez, UFCOE News & Communications
Media Relations: Larry Lansford, Director, News & Communications, llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137

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Education technology professor receives best paper award

RITZHAUPT, Albert 2008Albert Ritzhaupt, an associate professor of educational technology at UF, received the best paper award at this year’s Informing Science + IT Education (InSITE) conference in Porto, Portugal. 

InSITE is a conference sponsored by the Informing Science Institute, a professional association in information and communication technology. 

The paper was a joint effort between Ritzhaupt and Grandon Gill, a professor of information systems at the University of South Florida, where Ritzhaupt earned his Ph.D. Gill was the principal investigator for the National Science Foundation-funded study and Ritzhaupt served as a consultant on this grant program. 

Their research investigated the effectiveness of using authentic case-based instruction in an information systems course at USF. 

According to Ritzhaupt, most information systems students are preparing for eventual jobs as technology managers and want to learn how to make effective business and technology decisions. In the case-based approach that Ritzhaupt and Gill studied, teachers simulate authentic cases by asking students to take on the role of a protagonist and make decisions related to information systems, like choosing what kinds of technology to use to develop a business. 

The researchers found that case studies are an effective means of teaching based on their evaluation of student perception and achievement.

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College honors 5 newly retired faculty: Algina, Clark, Echevarria-Doan, Sherrard and Spillman

2013 Retired Fac Group

College of Education Dean Glenn Good (second from right) celebrates with retired faculty (from left to right) Drs. James Algina, Peter Sherrard, Mary Ann Clark and Silvia Echevarria-Doan at the college’s Retired Faculty Luncheon on Oct. 16.

 

The College of Education on Oct. 16 honored five newly retired professors who have made significant contributions to their students, their professions and research fields, and the EduGator community. 

Dean Glenn Good hosted a reception at his home for all retired faculty in the area to recognize the newest members of their ranks. They are Drs. James Algina (research and evaluation methodology); Mary Ann Clark, Peter Sherrard and Silvia Echevarria-Doan (all in counselor education), and Carolyn Spillman (Teacher Leadership and School Improvement). 

View photos of the event by clicking here.

The following mini-profiles represent just a small sampling of their many career achievements and the impact they each have had on the college, their students and in their professions. 

 

ALGINA, James 041Dr. James Algina
Professor of research and evaluation methodology 

James Algina has been on the College of Education faculty for 35 years, chairing the foundations of education department from 1983 to 1995. He was named a University of Florida Research Foundation Professor in 2001 and is a fellow of the American Educational Research Association and of the American Psychological Association. He has authored more than 130 refereed articles, two books, eight book chapters, and six encyclopedia articles. Algina has been the editor of the Journal of Educational Measurement and associate editor of the American Educational Research Journal. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Rhode Island and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts in psychometrics and statistics. 

Algina says one of the most rewarding parts of his career was the time spent working with doctoral students and faculty. He has served as the supervisory chair for 20 doctoral students and co-chair for five. He was also a supervisory committee member for almost 200 doctoral students in 22 doctoral programs and for 44 graduated master’s thesis students. His dedication earned him a UF Doctoral Mentoring Award in 2009. 

CLARK, Mary Ann (11-08)Dr. Mary Ann Clark
Professor emeritus in counselor education, school counseling program coordinator 

Mary Ann Clark has been teaching in counselor education at UF since 2000, serving as the school counseling program coordinator for five years. She has chosen phased retirement and will continue as a part-time instructor in counselor education. Her research has focused on male underachievement in public education, counselors as educational leaders, factors in the success of poor and minority students, international collaboration, and school-university partnerships. The College named Clark the 2006-2009 B.O. Smith Research Professor, and the 2008 Graduate Faculty Teacher of the Year. She has participated in more than 100 presentations and publications since 1997, and she has been involved in a number of professional organizations and committees. 

Clark worked for 13 years as a school counselor and administrator with the U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools on military bases in England. She received her bachelor’s in psychology from Wake Forest University and her master’s in guidance and counseling from the University of North Carolina. She graduated from the UF’s College of Education with her specialist and doctoral degrees in counselor education. 

Echevarria-Doan, SilviaDr. Silvia Echevarria-Doan
Associate professor of counselor education 

Silvia Echevarria-Doan has been a member of the counselor education faculty for 20 years. She has decided to go on phased retirement to continue as part-time faculty. She headed that program area in 2011-12 and has coordinated the marriage and family counseling track for the past seven years. She has also served as clinical coordinator of the Advanced Family Couple and Family Clinic since 1994. She has presented worldwide at professional conferences and has received numerous awards for her scholarly work in areas such as family resilience and strength in family therapy, multicultural issues in family therapy, qualitative research methodology, and relationship violence. 

Echevarria-Doan is an affiliate faculty member for UF’s Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research. She is president of the North Central Florida Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and is a clinical fellow and an approved supervisor in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She is dually licensed as a marriage and family therapist and clinical social worker in Florida. She has a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in social work, and earned her Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy at Purdue University. 

imgresDr. Peter A.D. Sherrard
Associate professor emeritus of counselor education 

Peter Sherrard has been with the College of Education since 1986, when he began teaching in the marriage and family therapy and mental health counseling programs. Previously, he worked as a counseling psychologist for several university counseling centers, including six years as director at Kansas State University, one year at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and five years as training director for the psychology internship program at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. At those schools, he also served as an adjunct assistant professor in their respective counselor education graduate programs. Sherrard has more than 40 years’ experience as a marital and family therapist in both agency and independent community practice. 

Sherrard has been involved in dozens of publications, presentations, workshops and professional societies. He has served on the Florida 491 board that administers two of the licenses that UF counselor education students can qualify for, and is a former president of the American Association of State Counseling Boards. He earned his Doctor in Education degree from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and completed his marriage and family training at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kan. 

Carolyn SpillmanDr. Carolyn Spillman
Clinical assistant professor, professor-in-residence in Collier County for TLSI program

Carolyn Spillman was a professor-in-residence in Collier County for the college’s Teacher Leadership for School Improvement program for three years, recruiting, teaching and mentoring teachers from high-needs schools across the county. She has spent almost 50 years as an instructor in elementary, secondary and post-secondary classrooms. She taught childhood education at the University of South Florida for 20 years, an also taught at Florida Gulf Coast University, which last year honored her with professor emeritus status. 

Spillman has published a number of journal articles and conference papers with her colleagues. She was a member of several professional organizations and is a former president of the Florida Association for Childhood Education International. 

She received her bachelor’s degree from High Point College and graduated from the University of North Carolina with a master’s in elementary education and a doctorate in child development and family relations. She also completed post-doctoral coursework at the University of South Florida at Fort Myers and at Tampa, as well as East Carolina University.


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

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Regional group honors Swank as outstanding pre-tenure counselor educator

Jacqueline Swank

Jacqueline Swank

Jacqueline Swank, a UF assistant professor in counselor education, has been honored with the 2013 Outstanding Pre-tenure Counselor Educator Award by the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.

The group is a division of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. The award recognizes individual faculty instructors in the field who are showing exceptional progress in the early stages of their academic career. 

Swank is considered an emerging leader in counselor education among her colleagues. In her past three years at the College of Education, she has collected six awards for her research and practice and is a principal investigator in three grant-funded projects. Her research interests include counselor development and supervision, assessment related to counseling, creative intervention in counseling, and children and adolescents.

Swank is also well known for her service on several professional committees and organizations and as a dedicated mentor for graduate students.

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Six new professors join College of Education faculty

UF’s College of Education this year welcomed six new additions to its faculty: Kristen Apraiz, Kristina DePue, Nicholas Gage, Ashley Macsuga-Gage, Diane Porter Roberts and Rachel Wolkenhauer. 

KristenApraizKristen Apraiz is a clinical assistant professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, in which she teaches elementary mathematics education courses. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education from Florida State University. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in mathematics education at the College of Education. Previously, she taught mathematics for middle and high school, as well as adult education, for eight years. Apraiz’s research is focused on education for pre-service mathematics teachers. 

  

KristinaDePue

Kristina DePue is an assistant professor of counselor education in the School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education. DePue graduated from Vanderbilt University with both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She received her doctoral degree in counselor education from the University of Central Florida. There, she led a multi-year study in the Community Counseling Clinic that focused on counselor development and supervisory relationships. Her personal and research interests include helping individuals struggling with dependence from alcohol and other drugs. 

 

NicholasGage

Nicholas Gage is an assistant professor of special education in the School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Goddard College, and an additional master’s degree from the University of Missouri. He graduated with his Ph.D. in special education from the University of Missouri. Gage worked at the University of Connecticut’s Center for Behavioral Education and Research as an Institute of Education Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow. His research is focused on identifying policies and practices at the national, state, local and classroom level to support the academic, social and behavioral needs of students with or at-risk for emotional and/or behavioral disorders. 

 

AshleyMacsugaGage

Ashley Macsuga-Gage is a visiting clinical assistant professor of special education in the School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in special education. In addition to her doctoral studies, she also earned two additional graduate certifications in positive behavior interventions and supports and program evaluation. Macsuga-Gage’s research interests include the implementation of class-wide and school-wide positive behavior support practices. 

 

DPRoberts

Diane Porter Roberts, or “DP,” is an assistant clinical professor of personnel in higher education in the School of Human Development and Organizational Studies. She has served as the program coordinator and director of the student personnel in high education graduate program since 2008. She received her bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degrees in education from Appalachian State University. She received her Ph.D. in higher education administration from UF’s College of Education. Prior to joining the College of Education full time, she worked for UF’s Department of Housing and Residence Education for 18 years. Her research specialties include the competencies of professional and graduate housing staff, living learning communities, college student learning outcomes assessments, and advising student organizations, among others.   

RachelWolkenhauer

Rachel Wolkenhauer is a clinical assistant professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, in which she teaches about culturally-responsive classroom management. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of South Florida, and her master’s and doctorate degrees in curriculum and instruction from UF’s College of Education. She recently published the book “Inquiring into the Common Core” with College of Education professor Nancy Fichtman Dana and Jamey Bolton Burns, a program coordinator for the Lastinger Center for Learning. Her primary research interest is in practitioner inquiry for teacher professional development.  

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Faculty pair awarded annual research grant from College of Education

UF faculty co-researchers, Jacqueline Swank and Joseph Gagnon.

UF faculty co-researchers, Jacqueline Swank and Joseph Gagnon.

UF faculty co-researchers Jacqueline Swank and Joseph Gagnon will share the College of Education’s 2013-2014 College Research Incentive Fund Award. The annual CRIF grants are awarded to faculty with promising research projects that are likely to attract additional funding in the future. 

Swank is an assistant professor in counselor education and Gagnon is an associate professor in special education. 

The one-time $40,000 award will finance Swank and Gagnon’s survey of mental health policies and procedures within American juvenile correctional facilities. Swank is the principal investigator of the grant and Gagnon is the co-PI.

The project blends Swank’s research interests related to mental health issues among at-risk adolescents and Gagnon’s educational study of juveniles in correctional facilities.

 The pair’s goal is to obtain data they could use in seeking further funding for their research, particularly from the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

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7 COE faculty receive promotions

The College of Education congratulates professors Alyson Adams, Gary Boulware, Penny Cox, Kara Dawson, Timothy Jacobbe, Erica McCray and Albert Ritzhaupt, who received promotions effective this fall semester.

1017595_10151483946381194_702753659_n

Alyson Adams

Adams, from the School of Teaching and Learning and the UF Lastinger Center for Learning, is now a clinical associate professor. Her research interests include studying the impact of professional development on teacher practice and student achievement and the impact of job-embedded graduate programs.

Gary Boulware

Gary Boulware

Boulware is an economics and American government instructor at P.K. Yonge, the College of Education’s K-12 laboratory school. He was promoted to the position of assistant professor.

Penny Cox

Penny Cox

Cox, the graduate coordinator for the college’s special education program, is now a clinical associate professor. She teaches courses in Unified Elementary ProTeach and the Teach Well online master’s program. 

Kara Dawson

Kara Dawson

Dawson, who teaches educational technology, was promoted to professor. Her research focuses on the impact of technology on student achievement and teaching practices. 

Timothy Jacobbe

Timothy Jacobbe

Jacobbe is now a tenured associate professor in mathematics education. His research interests relate to statistics and mathematics teacher education. 

Erica McCray

Erica McCray

McCray, from the School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies, received tenure and was promoted to associate professor. Her research focuses on teacher quality and faculty development in the context of diversity. 

Albert Ritzhaupt

Albert Ritzhaupt

Ritzhaupt is now a tenured associate professor of educational technology. His research interests include the design and development of technology-enhanced learning environments and technology integration in education.

 

 

 

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Graduate teaching honor goes to educational foundations professor

TERZIAN, Sevan05 024Since he joined the UF College of Education faculty in 2000, Sevan Terzian has been repeatedly commended by his peers and students as an exceptional teacher and accomplished academician.

Most recently, Terzian, an associate professor in social foundations of education, received the college’s 2013 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award for his teaching and mentorship of graduate education students. The award came with a $2,000 stipend. 

“This award is a reflection of the high quality students that we have,” said Terzian, who also heads graduate studies for the college’s School of Teaching and Learning. “The honor has helped me understand even more that graduate education includes, yet also transcends, the classroom.”

Over the years, Terzian has received a number of teaching honors, including the College of Education Undergraduate Teacher of the Year and UF Teacher of the Year in 2008. He was also awarded a UF Research Foundation Professorship for 2009-2012. 

His research on the history of the American high school has landed his work in a variety of publications and earned him several grants over the years. This year, he published his first book, Science Education and Citizenship, which explores the history of science fairs and extracurricular school science programs.

“Dr. Terzian is known as a strong advocate for students, and shepherds them through their research activities and their efforts to present and publish their work,” said Elizabeth Bondy, director of the School of Teaching and Learning.

A college faculty committee chose Terzian for his latest honor based on high and consistent ratings by his students on end-of-course evaluations and strong letters of recommendation from his students and peers.

“I have worked with many wonderful faculty members in several departments since I came to the University of Florida for graduate school in 2006, but Dr. Terzian’s commitment to teaching and mentoring is unparalleled,” education doctoral candidate Jess Clawson wrote in her recommendation of Terzian. 

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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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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.


CONTACTS

   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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Two statistics education journals choose UF math ed professor for editor posts

JACOBBE, Tim 014Tim Jacobbe, a UF assistant professor in mathematics education, has been appointed as the founding editor of the Journal of Statistics Education’s new department on research in K-12 statistics education, as well as an associate editor for the Statistics Education Research Journal.

Jacobbe will serve as an associate editor for the latter publication until 2016. His editorship at the JSE is for an indefinite period.

At the College of Education, Jacobbe is the principal investigator for a $2 million National Science Foundation-funded project focused on creating high-quality testing instruments in statistics.

Jacobbe has been an education faculty member since 2008. He previously was an assessment specialist at Educational Testing Service where he became one of the primary test developers for the AP Statistics program. He was also an author for the books “Bridging the Gap Between Common Core State Standards and Teaching Statistics” and “Developing Essential Understanding of Statistics for Teaching Mathematics in Grades 6–8.”