ETC’s John Donaldson receives UF Superior Accomplishment Award

John Donaldson, director of operations for the COE’s e-learning, technology and creative services (ETC) unit, has received a UF divisional Superior Accomplishment Award for his outstanding contributions to the college and university. 

John Donaldson, ETC operations

John Donaldson, ETC operations

The award includes an invitation to attend a ceremony in mid-March, where each recipient will receive a certificate, coffee mug and a $200 stipend. Each division winner also will be considered for a university-wide Superior Accomplishment Award.

“My accomplishments are largely the result of the great team I work with and their tireless efforts to assist in the pursuit of excellence in all we do for the college,” Donaldson wrote in response to a congratulatory letter he received from COE Dean Glenn Good.

Donaldson has faced – and met – countless challenges while holding several positions since he came to UF more than 12 years ago. Among other duties, he serves as the director of technology for the CEEDAR (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform) Center. CEEDAR is housed at the COE and directed by UF special education faculty through a $25 million grant from the federal Office of Special Education Programs.. 

CEEDAR project coordinator Margaret “Meg” Kamman said she nominated Donaldson because she admires his supportive nature and strong work ethic.

“I’m always thinking about ways to provide products and services that are user-friendly, effective and far-reaching,” Kamman said. “Technology is central to these efforts, and John has been integral to what we’ve accomplished. What makes him stand out is his genuine interest in our ultimate goal, which is to improve learning opportunities for teachers and leaders who are preparing students with disabilities for college and careers.”

Jessa Carpenter, ETC’s online concurrent enrollment student services coordinator,  echoed Kamman’s sentiments: “John is a master juggler who keeps several projects moving along at the same time. The University of Florida, the College of Education and ETC are lucky to have such a hard working, loyal and capable individual.”

Counselor Ed student doubles up on CSI honors

Sandra Logan

Sandra Logan

Sandra “Sandi” Logan, a doctoral student in the College of Education’s counselor education program, has been chosen to serve as a Chi Sigma Iota Fellow for the 2014-2015 academic year. The distinction was awarded recently just one day after Logan learned that she’d also won the counseling professional honor society’s annual leadership essay contest.

Both honors are open to all master’s degree and doctoral students enrolled in counselor education programs throughout the U.S. 

She will begin her fellowship duties with initiation and orientation in March at the annual conference for the American Counseling Association. 

“Serving as a Fellow shows that the organization is investing in me, and in return, I will invest in the organization,” Logan said. “What CSI values is commitment, service and identity – all of which happen to be values that I also hold.”

Her winning essay focused on promoting professional identity through CSI chapter involvement.

“My inspiration for the essay was what I live every day,” she said. “My ‘doctoral world’ revolves around anything and everything related to counselor education and leadership development.”

Logan also is a regional representative and awards committee chair for the Florida Counseling Association, an awards committee chair for CSI’s Beta chapter, and a doctoral student representative for the UF chapter of Counselors for Social Justice. Her specialization within her doctoral program is leadership and advocacy.

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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 









Alumna’s calendar photo inspires others with Parkinson’s disease

Sandy Cohen-Tulip Flame of Hope_PDF Creativity Calendar 2014[4]

A floral photograph taken by COE ProTeach alumna Sandy Schilffarth Cohen (BAE ’95, MAE ‘96) has been selected to appear on the cover of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation’s 2014 calendar.

Her photograph (above) depicts a fiery orange and yellow tulip — the official symbol of Parkinson’s disease. More than 1,500 voters helped to decide that her photograph would be the cover image of PDF’s annual print calendar, which is distributed to 20,000 people nationwide. 

Cohen, 41, who taught special education in Alachua County for three years and now lives in Alexandria, Va., is one of 13 artists afflicted with Parkinson’s disease whose entries were voted by the public to be used in the Creativity and Parkinson’s Calendar. The annual print edition is distributed nationally to inspire others and create awareness of the progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly a million Americans.

COHEN, Sandy“I was really excited when I found out I was one of the five finalists for the cover photo,” the Gainesville native said. “But I was absolutely thrilled when they told me I won. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a photograph published.”

Cohen retired from her job as a special education teacher in the Fairfax County Public Schools in 2007 – four years after she was diagnosed with the debilitating disease at age 31. Only 4 percent of people living with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before the age of 50.

Though she has enjoyed creative pursuits such as drawing, music and taking photography lessons from her father since she was young, Cohen’s passion for the latter was reignited after her diagnosis. 

“Photography gives me freedom from thinking about my symptoms and allows me to remember the ‘real’ me,” she said. “To have people from across the nation inspired by my photograph and sharing the experience of Parkinson’s together through art makes me so proud.”

Appearing on the calendar next to her photo is an equally inspiring quote by Cohen, a mother of two elementary school-age children: “I find an inner beauty in nature and each individual flower, which gives me the strength to enjoy each day knowing that my disease will not win the battle at this time in my life.”

Cohen is one of 350 artists living with Parkinson’s who have shared their artwork and experiences with PDF’s Creativity and Parkinson’s Project.

For more information or to order the free Creativity and Parkinson’s Calendar, go online to


Higher Ed alum heads elite university program for veterans

IMG_7707 Phillip MorrisUnder the leadership of UF higher education administration alumnus Phillip Morris, the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs was recently ranked among the best Western regional universities for veterans. Morris directs the university’s Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs. 

Morris received his Ph.D. in higher education from UF’a College of Education in 2011, and his master’s in geography from UF in 2007. While a doctoral student, he was an alumni research fellow, program coordinator, training coordinator and assistant lecturer. He earned his bachelor’s in political science from Concord University. 

UCCS was ranked No. 13 out of the 40 best public and private universities for veterans. The university has 1,335 students enrolled who use education benefits associated with military service.  

“We take pride supporting our veterans holistically to help them successfully transition into the workforce,” Morris said in a press release. 

Morris’ passion for working with veterans is rooted in his own military experiences. He served as a paralegal specialist for the West Virginia Army National Guard for five years, one of which he spent in Iraq. He also completed three years of active duty in the U.S. Army, including one in Korea as an ammunition specialist and driver.

Read more about Morris by following this link:


COE international students honored for academics, service

College of Education

Mary Brownell (back row, left) and Theresa Vernetson smile with (front row, from left to right) Nari Choi, Sungar Gurel and Yasemin Sert, three of the four College of Education recipients of a Certificate of Outstanding Academic Achievement from the UF International Center.

Four UF College of Education international students ­– Nari Choi, Sungur Gurel, Ahyea (Alice) Jo, and Yasemin Sert ­­– were recently honored with a Certificate of Outstanding Academic Achievement by the university’s International Center. 

The annual award recognizes international undergraduate and graduate students across the University of Florida who have achieved an exceptional record of academic work, scholarship and service to the UF community. 

Choi (from South Korea) is a doctoral student studying special education. She is also a research assistant in the College of Education’s CEEDAR Center, a national center to improve teaching and leadership supporting students with disabilities. Choi’s scholarship focuses on cultural linguistic diversity and students with disabilities. 

Gurel (Turkey) is pursuing a Ph.D. in research and evaluation methodology, in which he recently received his master’s degree. He is also pursuing a minor in statistics. Gurel has been involved as a researcher and paper author for a number of College of Education-based studies about how statistics are used in education. 

Jo (South Korea) is a pursuing her doctorate in ESOL and bilingual education. Since 2008, she has been involved in a U.S. Department of Education-funded grant for which she has helped plan, develop and produce professional development videos. Jo has also contributed to conference presentations related to the research. 

Sert (Turkey) is a doctoral student in mathematics education. She has taught pre-service teachers at the College of Education for five semesters, and has received consistently high rating each time. Sert is also participating in a research project on how technology can support algebra instruction.

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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.”

Source: Art Sandeen,
Writer: Alexa Lopez, UFCOE News & Communications
Media Relations: Larry Lansford, Director, News & Communications,; 352-273-4137


Student’s ‘best essay’ depicts post-WWII education mission in Japan

DSC_0096Kenneth Noble, a University of Florida College of Education doctoral student, will join most Americans this Saturday in remembering and honoring those who died in Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941—a date that President Franklin Roosevelt declared “will live in infamy” forever. The United States declared war on Japan the day after the attack and entered World War II. 

Noble, though, is just as interested in what happened after the war ended in 1945, when the United States and other Allied forces backed an effort to democratize occupied Japan and reform its education system. 

Scheduled to receive his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in social foundations of education in 2016, Noble recently received the Henry Barnard Prize from the national History of Education Society for an essay he authored about this post-war education mission to Japan. The prize honors the year’s best graduate student essay about the history of education around the world. Noble received a $500 stipend with the award and his essay will be published in an upcoming issue of History of Education Quarterly, the society’s flagship journal. 

Prior to enrolling at UF, Noble, 30, received two bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees in history and social studies education from Mississippi State University in his home state. He also taught social studies at a high school in South Carolina for three years and was a teaching assistant at Mississippi State University for two years. As he pursues his doctoral degree at UF, Noble also teaches a course on the history of American education and another on social studies for diverse learners. 

His essay explores Charles S. Johnson’s role in the education mission in Japan, which lasted until 1952. Johnson was a prominent sociologist and the first black president of Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. He was the only non-white member of the 27-member American committee of educators selected to participate in the Japanese reform effort. 

During the mission, Johnson, who was interested in civil rights and educational opportunities for black children, noticed that the United States was eliminating the barriers on education in Japan so that all people, regardless of racial, gender, religious or economic differences, could attend school. 

“Here we are promoting ourselves as the bastion of democracy, but in our own country we’re not really following those ideals,” Noble said. 

During this time in the 1940s and ‘50s, the United States enforced the Jim Crow laws, which legalized the segregation of black and white people. According to Noble, when Johnson returned to the United States, he focused on publicizing and eliminating that discrepancy between how the United States portrayed itself to the rest of the world and how the country actually functioned. 

“(Until now) the only people who ever read my work are my professors,” said Noble, whose research interests include post-World War II contexts, social justice and civil rights issues. “Now that I’ve written something that has a larger audience and has been deemed publishable and presentable, I feel like I’ve added to the realm of the history of education.”

SOURCEKenneth Noble, doctoral student in curriculum and instruction,, 662-341-2671
WRITER: Alexa Lopez, news and communications office, UF College of Education,, 352-273-4137
MEDIA CONTACT: Larry Lansford, news and communications office, UF College of Education,, 352-273-4137


Education doctoral student recognized for mentoring efforts

NatalieKingNatalie King, a doctoral student in UF’s curriculum, teaching and teacher education program, is a recipient of the 2013 Graduate Student Mentoring Award given by UF’s I-Cubed program. 

King previously was a biology and chemistry teacher at Gainesville’s Eastside High School and an instructor for the UF College of Medicine’s Health Care Summer Institute. 

I-Cubed, which stands for Innovation through Institutional Integration, is a five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation to foster integration of all student-based research and training programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Their Graduate Student Mentoring Award recognizes graduate students who take time to help others succeed in their undergraduate or graduate studies or in K-12 classrooms. The award comes with a $500 cash stipend. 

“Natalie King exemplifies the true relationship that exists between a mentor and a mentee,” wrote Rose Pringle, an associate professor in science education, in her recommendation of King. Pringle is King’s faculty adviser. “The students in the Alachua County community are benefiting from her passion and her desire to have them succeed academically, pursue college aspirations and become engaged in STEM.” 

King’s passion for mentoring is evident in her experience over the years as a mentor for students of all ages. She first began mentoring for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Alachua County seven years ago. She has also designed a mentoring project for underrepresented middle school girls in the local Emerging Young Leaders program, as well as a curriculum for a summer enrichment program for K-12 students in Alachua County. 

“I had great role models and mentors growing up, so I made it my duty to personally mentor students in addition to creating mentoring programs involving the community,” King said. 

As a high school teacher, King encouraged her students to pursue college degrees and careers in science. Now, she mentors pre-service students during their practicum in the College of Education. 

King has been recognized several times for her mentoring, academics and scholarship. At UF, she is a Florida Education Fund McKnight Doctoral Fellow and a Graduate School Fellow. She also received a UF Presidential Service Award earlier this year.


HBCU DIGEST, BLACK PR WIRE: Statewide minority mentoring program

HBCU Digest, Black PR Wire
10-31-13, 11-1-13
SEC statewide minority mentoring program

HBCU Digest and Black PR Wire reported on the College of Education’s partnership with Florida’s historically-black colleges and universities to form the Situational Environmental Circumstances (SEC) mentoring program. The statewide program matches student mentors at the colleges and universities in Florida with minority male elementary school students. Cheryl Williams, the College of Education’s community and government liaison and the SEC’s assistant director, and Randy Nelson, founder of 21st Century Research and Evaluations, were quoted in both articles. 


TAMPA TRIBUNE: Don Pemberton

Tampa Tribune (Highlands Today edition)
Don Pemberton

Highlands Today, an edition of the Tampa Tribune, quoted Don Pemberton, director of the UF Lastinger Center for Learning, in a story about teacher quality in early learning programs.According to the article, Pemberton told the Florida House Education Committee that UF had just completed a study for the state Office of Early Learning that showed “significant and substantial improvements in outcomes for teachers” after they’d completed a 20-hour professional development course.


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.


MDLINX: Linda Behar-Horenstein

Linda Behar-Horenstein

MDLinx, a website that provides medical research knowledge, featured a research article by Linda Behar-Horenstein, a College of Education faculty member who is also an affiliate faculty member at UF’s College of Dentistry. The article discusses Behar-Horenstein’s study of valid and reliable instruments used to measure and assess dental students’ cultural competence.


Counselor ed student honored by regional organization

RachelHenesyRachel Henesy, a UF graduate student in counselor education, has received the Outstanding Student at the Master’s Level 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 honors master’s students who exceed the demands of their graduate program and show exceptional promise for a productive career in counseling. 

Henesy is pursuing her master’s and specialist degrees in mental health counseling at UF’s College of Education, where her focus is primarily on community counseling, adolescent development, counseling research, and social justice. She is currently an intern at the PACE Center for Girls, a Gainesville alternative school for adolescent girls. She also serves as co-president for the UF student chapter of Counselors for Social Justice and co-chair for the advocacy committee of UF’s chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the international honor society for students, professionals and educators in counseling. 

Rachel is a member of two faculty-led research teams and has worked as a student assistant on three grant-funded research projects. She has presented and co-presented at conferences held by the American Counseling Association, the Association for Assessment in Counseling and Education, and the Florida Counseling Association.


Counseling group honors grad student for research, practice

MelanieVarneyMelanie Varney, pursuing her master’s and specialist degrees in mental health counseling at UF’s College of Education, has received the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling’s (AARC) 2013 Master’s Exemplary Research and Practice Award. The award recognizes the contributions a master’s student has made in scholarship and service that align with the group’s mission. 

Varney’s research focuses on multicultural issues in counseling, especially cultural identity development. She has been involved in the Pediatric Counseling Research Team at the College of Education and has studied educational issues affecting historically underperforming minority students. 

She has made two research presentations at the AARC conference and the American Counseling Association conference. Varney was the lead presenter at the ACA’s conference last year, a rare distinction for a master’s student. Varney has been invited to return to the ACA conference again as a co-presenter for an educational session discussing the trends in African American counseling literature that have been published in the past 20 years.

Varney has also excelled in her clinical experiences. She is currently completing her internship at the UF Counseling and Wellness Center. Previously, she was a counseling practicum counselor at the PACE Center for Girls, a local non-residential delinquency prevention program for young females. Varney is also currently employed as a crisis intervention consultant for UF’s Department of Housing and Resident Education.


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.

WRITER: Alexa Lopez, news and communications office, UF College of Education; 


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   WRITER: Alexa Lopez, news and communications office, UF College of Education; 

Award-winning UF documentary filmmaker shines a light on innovative inner-city teacher

GAINESVILLE, Fla. —Written, directed and produced by award-winning University of Florida documentary filmmaker Boaz Dvir, “Discovering Gloria” tells the story of Duval Elementary (Gainesville) teacher Gloria Jean Merriex’s transformation into a trailblazing innovator and a national model. 

“Discovering Gloria” screens Sept. 26 at 6:30 pm at Lincoln Middle School in Gainesville. The 90-minute program, which includes opening remarks by Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Dan Boyd and a post-screening panel discussion with UF professors and researchers, is free and open to the public.

“Gloria’s innovative approach of teaching her students using rhythm, rhyme and movement is legendary in the Duval Elementary School community,” Boyd said. “Through this documentary, people outside that community will also have an opportunity to learn about Gloria’s methods and her many contributions to education.”

An inspiring 40-minute documentary, “Discovering Gloria” shows Merriex engaging her math and reading students at the most effective levels through her numerous innovations, which included hip-hop and dance routines. In the film, UF professors and doctoral students who examined her methods describe how she broke vital new ground.

“She didn’t move to using music because she studied Howard Gardner’s work about multiple intelligences,” said Buffy Bondy, director of UF’s School of Teaching and Learning who researched Merriex’s methods. “She moved to using music and movement and the other strategies that she used because she studied her students.”

The also film shows how Merriex helped Duval leap from an F on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in 2002 to an A the following year.

“This documentary reveals her desire to do so much as a math teacher at Duval Elementary School,” said retired educator Andrew R. Mickle. “Her unique gifts run deep in both her personality and her beliefs in a special method of teaching math. The result speaks for itself.”


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. 



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. 



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. 



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. 



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.   


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.  


UF higher ed alum named to Florida university system post

ChrisMullinChris Mullin (PhD ’08), a UF doctoral graduate in higher education administration, has been appointed assistant vice chancellor for policy and research by the State University System’s Board of Governors. The board oversees Florida’s public university system. Mullin previously served as program director for policy analysis at the American Association of Community Colleges in Washington, D.C. 

Mullin received a bachelor’s in art education from UF in 1999 and a doctorate in higher education administration in 2008. He also received an M.A.E. degree from Columbia University in 2005. In his UF doctoral studies, his research focused on funding issues affecting community colleges. He also helped launch and edit the Florida Journal of Educational Administration and Policy published by the higher education administration unit.


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.


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.





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. 

Tim Tebow’s mom discusses family reading disabilities with UF education students


Pam Tebow speaks to Holly Lane’s students.

While ex-Gator Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was battling for a backup quarterback position with the New England Patriots of the NFL, his mother Pam Tebow paid a surprise visit this week to UF associate professor Holly Lane’s graduate course on reading disabilities. 

Lane, a special education instructor, has been working with Susan Vanderlinde, who tutored Tim when he was young, and Vanderlinde’s sister to incorporate their tutoring techniques into the professor’s reading methods course.

Pam spoke to Lane’s pre-service teachers about how dyslexia affected her sons, Tim and Robbie, and her husband Bob, yet did not deter them from being successful in their academic, personal and professional endeavors.

(From left) Holly Lane, Susan Vanderlinde, Pam Tebow, Linda Lombardino and Jane Andrews

(From left) Holly Lane, Susan Vanderlinde, Pam Tebow, Linda Lombardino and Jane Andrews

During her visit, Pam stressed the importance of knowledgeable and compassionate teachers that recognize their students’ strengths and help them overcome their challenges.

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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.

COE honors 5 Florida ‘distinguished educators’

Every year, the University of Florida’s College of Education recognizes five of the state of Florida’s most elite educators by honoring them with a Distinguished Educator Award at the university’s fall commencement ceremony.

This year, the college honored Nancy Hunter, a high school teacher in Lake County; David Murphy, a high school principal in Monroe County; Derita Pinkard, an instructional coach for elementary and middle school teachers in Madison County; Kristen Rivas, an elementary school teacher in Hardee County; and Chris Wilson, a high school teacher in Levy County.

The recipients of the college’s 2013 Distinguished Educator Award foster excellence in student learning and their school environment, demonstrate a strong commitment to serve and participate in their educational and local communities, and exhibit professionalism, leadership and a love of learning.

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

NancyHunterNancy Hunter
Teacher, Leesburg High School in Leesburg

Nancy Hunter believes in helping students recognize their learning styles and strengths so that they can enjoy learning in school. For the past 21 years, Hunter has demonstrated this by reminding her students that they are all talented and able to succeed. Hunter began her teaching career as a math and science teacher, but after 18 years she took on a new challenge of teaching ninth-grade students who are working below grade level and at risk for failure. Her 2012 freshman group was Leesburg High’s highest performing ninth-grade group ever. Hunter received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Central Florida. She was the 2013 Lake Sumter State College Distinguished Educator of the Year Award, the 2012 Lake County Teacher of the Year, the 2006 Oak Park Middle School Teacher of the Year, and the 1993 Lake County Beginning Teacher of the Year.

DavidMurphyDavid Murphy
Principal, Coral Shores High School in Tavernier 

David Murphy’s strong leadership has substantially improved the quality of daily classroom instruction at Coral Shores High School by organizing professional learning communities among teachers, which lead to collaboration and sharing of best practices. He has been principal at Coral Shores High School since August 2011. He also been involved in various education policy and planning groups. Murphy received his bachelor’s degree in science education from the University of Iowa and his master’s in educational leadership and policy studies from Florida State. He has received numerous awards and is a past selection as the Monroe County School District Teacher of the Year.

Instructional coach, Madison County Central School in Madison 

Derita Pinkard’s goal as an educator is to instill a love of learning in her students so they can become lifetime learners. As an instructional coach in mathematics, she shows her teachers how to help students apply their knowledge and become more confident in their skills. She has taught for more than 25 years, and she has been teaching at Madison County Central School since 2010. Pinkard is also involved in her community through her participation in local education and service groups, including Delta Kappa Gamma, an international honor society for female educators. She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Valdosta State College. She has twice been named Teacher of the Year by schools where she has taught.

KristenRivasKristen Rivas
Teacher, Wauchula Elementary School in Wauchula 

Kristen Rivas is known for her enthusiasm and quality instruction as a kindergarten teacher. She has been an elementary school teacher since 2005—for the past four years at Wauchula Elementary School. She serves on a variety of committees and has participated in several professional development and training programs. She is also an active member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international honor society for female educators. Rivas received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of West Florida. Wauchula Elementary and the Hardee County school district both have honored her for excellence as their 2013 Teacher of the Year.

ChrisWilsonChris Wilson
Teacher, Chiefland High School in Chiefland 

Chris Wilson is dedicated to helping build the Chiefland community, starting with teaching the students in his social studies and Advanced Placement world history classes. He strives to bring his knowledge to life for his students in unique ways so they become informed and driven individuals. He motivates and connects with his students like a coach, a role he is familiar with because of his time as a little league and high school basketball coach and as athletic director of Chiefland High. Last year, all of his students passed the standardized AP World History exam, which contributed to the selection of Levy County for the College Board’s AP Honor Roll. Wilson, a Chiefland High School alumnus, received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Florida.


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College honors year’s outstanding graduate students

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

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


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

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

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

Outstanding Graduate Student – Leadership
Kiwanis Burr

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

Outstanding Graduate Student – Professional Practice
Amber Benedict

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


Outstanding ProTeach undergraduates honored

Congratulations to Cristina Rossi and Kelly Craft, chosen as 2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Students at UF’s College of Education. Rossi is a May bachelor’s graduate from the college’s Unified Early Childhood program, and Craft is with Unified Elementary ProTeach.

Their impressive credentials summarized below explain why they were honored:

ROSSI, Cristina 2Outstanding Undergraduate – Unified Early Childhood
Cristina Ross
Cristina consistently excels in all areas of her academic life. Since 2010, she has earned UF President’s Honor Roll (for perfect 4.0 GPA) or Dean’s List (3.75 GPA or higher) awards each semester. Cristina is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key International Honor Society. Her professors have been impressed by her active participation in class and efforts to enact best teaching practices in assignments and in the field. Cristina is also a successful leader within UF and the community. She served this year as vice president of the Education College Council.

CRAFT, Kelly 2Outstanding Undergraduate – Unified Elementary ProTeach
Kelly Craft
Kelly takes every opportunity to work with children. At UF, she has maintained an outstanding GPA while working for two after-school programs and volunteering in programs for mentally- and physically-disabled children. A supervising classroom teacher assessed Kelly’s field teaching by writing in her report: “Wow, you’ve got a good one here!” Kelly’s passion for teaching is mirrored in her involvement in a number of professional organizations including the Kappa Delta Pi education honor society. She also represents her ProTeach cohort on the Student Advisory Council and is treasurer of UF’s women’s surf club and a certified lifeguard.


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

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

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

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

A natural mentor 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A research innovator 

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

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

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

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

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

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


   SOURCE:  Kara Dawson, associate professor, education technology, UF College of Education,, 352-273-4177
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education;; 352-273-4137


COE Outstanding Female Leader is all-star on Gator soccer team, too


Elementary education senior Holly King knows how to be a leader, whether it’s for a classroom of elementary school students or a team of Gator soccer players.

Next month, she will receive UF’s Outstanding Female Leader award during her undergraduate graduation. King is part of the five-year elementary education ProTeach program and played as senior defensive midfielder for the university’s women’s soccer team, earning All-Southeastern Conference first-team and defensive player of the year honors.

“I was very surprised and feel very humbled to have received this prestigious award,” King said. “Our elite student body is filled with leaders and to be selected to represent them is a great honor.” 

During her studies, King demonstrated these leadership qualities by creating fun and engaging lesson plans and adapting if they failed, which presented similar challenges to those she faced as captain of the soccer team. 

“What I learned on the field translated into the classroom as a teacher when getting to know my students and their different levels of learning,” King said. 

Shane M. Lardinois

Photo by Shane M. Lardinois.

Her professors, too, have seen her growth and commitment in her academic work. For example, King tutored a struggling reader and was responsible for planning daily tutoring sessions with him. After six weeks, King helped the student gain eight reading levels.

“Holly was very dedicated, yet humble,” said elementary education professor Caitlin Gallingane, who had King for two of her reading courses. “She worked hard to fit together both her academic career and her soccer career and still meet the high expectations of her instructors, coaches, and peers. She will be a wonderful professional teacher and role model for her students.” 

King was also a strong leader on the soccer field. She was selected to the UF women’s soccer team’s leadership committee in her freshman year, on which she served for three years. By her senior year, King was named team captain. As captain, she led the team to the SEC Championship and the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. 

“I had the opportunity to learn from some of the best coaches and teachers in the nation, which afforded me the opportunity to develop as a leader,” she said. “As a captain on our women’s soccer team, I adapted and adjusted to my teammates’ personalities in order to communicate appropriately.” 

Soccer coach Becky Burleigh told the Independent Florida Alligator that King’s leadership is a big asset to the team. 

“Having Holly on the team is like having a coach on the field,” Burleigh said. 

Read the rest of the Alligator’s profile about King and her leadership on and off the field here.

Photo by Shane M. Lardinois.

Photo by Shane M. Lardinois.

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Counselor ed graduate receives UF distinguished alumnus award

The University of Florida is honoring Arthur M. (Andy) Horne, a 1967 College of Education master’s graduate, with a 2013 UF Distinguished Alumnus Award 

Horne, who earned his M.Ed. degree at UF in counselor education, was feted at the college’s recent, year-end recognition banquet and will receive the award May 4 at UF’s spring commencement ceremony.

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

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

Horne is a dean emeritus and former Distinguished Research Professor in counseling psychology at the University of Georgia College of Education. He made his mark in education, though, long before retiring in 2012 from his five-year deanship.

Horne was already known for his nearly three decades of research on troubled families and ways to prevent and deal with male bullying and aggressive behavior in schools. Just since 1999, he received more than $7 million in federal grant support to develop and steer the Bully Busters program, designed to reduce violence and bullying in middle schools. His popular 2006 book, Bully Prevention: Creating a Positive School Climate, resulted from that project.

At UF, Horne earned bachelor’s degrees in English education and journalism (1965) before receiving his master’s in counselor education. His first teaching job was at Howard Bishop Junior High in Gainesville. He received his Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University in 1971.

Horne was on the faculty and directed training in counseling psychology at Indiana State from 1971-89 before joining the Georgia faculty, where he headed the counseling psychology department and training program before becoming dean.

Among numerous leadership posts, Horne is past president of the American Psychological Association’s division of group psychology and group psychotherapy and is the current president of the Society of Counseling Psychology. He is a fellow in numerous divisions of the APA and the American Counseling Association. 


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.”


Fulbright scholar in special education to study juvenile corrections schools in South Africa

JosephGagnonJoseph Gagnon, a UF associate professor of special education, will spend seven months conducting research and lecturing at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of the Fulbright Scholar Program. 

Gagnon’s research often focuses on improving the education and literacy of incarcerated youth. In Cape Town, he will study the current educational policies and practices within juvenile corrections schools. 

According to Gagnon, the United States and the Republic of South Africa are first and second in the world with the highest the number of incarcerated youth. But researchers and experts have noted problems in the countries’ education services for these youth, “despite its importance for youth to transition back to school, the community and workforce,” Gagnon said. 

For example, in South African juvenile corrections schools, there is inconsistency in the provision of individualized programming, coursework and vocational education, as well as a lack of important resources needed for education, Gagnon said. 

Gagnon has written or contributed to about 14 different academic publications, in which he identifies characteristics of the United States’ education system for incarcerated youth and evaluated its policies and practices. However, in the Republic of South Africa, “there are far fewer analyses of the juvenile correctional education program,” he said. 

“Clearly, both the United States and Republic of South Africa could benefit from a more in-depth study of their individual systems of juvenile justice education, as well as comparisons across countries, in order to develop and promote effective policies and practices,” Gagnon said. 

Fulbright is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. The Fulbright Scholar Program provides academic opportunities abroad to prominent university faculty and professionals

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STL doctoral fellow named national scholar for research, social justice promotion

JulieBrownJulie Brown, a UF doctoral fellow in curriculum and instruction, has been named as one of six Jhumki Basu Scholars by the National Association for Research in Science Teaching’s Equity and Ethics Committee.

Brown is a former high school science teacher and P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School’s elementary science coordinator.

At UF’s College of Education, Brown researches and designs professional development for secondary science teachers as a means of enhancing their ability to provide culturally responsive and inquiry-based instruction. Her STARTS – Science Teachers Are Responsive To Students – professional development model, for example, is designed to empower science teachers in high-need, urban school districts.

Brown’s professional development model is incorporated within a major partnership being forged between UF and the School District of Palm Beach County. It’s part of an ambitious effort to position the school system as a national leader in the recruitment and retention of master teachers in the STEM subjects who can lead their students to the highest levels of academic success.

“Science education must be accessible to all students,” Brown said. “Increasing culturally-responsive science education’s presence on a wide scale begins with teacher preparation.”

The Basu Scholars Program supports and nurtures promising young scholars who promote social justice. The program also provides scholars with a $700 research scholarship.

In memoriam: Hannelore Wass, professor emeritus, death studies pioneer, scholarship donor

Hannelore Wass, a professor emeritus in education psychology at UF’s College of Education and a prominent scholar in the field of death studies, died Friday, April 12 at age 86.

Dr. Wass was one of the college’s pioneers in bringing professional journals to the college to be edited. After joining the faculty in 1969 as a specialist in child growth and development, she soon became recognized internationally in the field of thanatology—the study of death, dying and bereavement—and became a sought-after lecturer and consultant in the United States and abroad.

She was cited in the 2006 book, “Women at the University of Florida,” which offers a history of accomplished women who have made a significant mark on the university.

Wass advocated for integrating the subjects of death, grief, suicide, as well as violence prevention and racial integration, into school curricula. In 1974, she organized a course at UF called “Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Death.” In 1977, Wass founded and brought to the college the journal, Death Education, which would later become Death Studies. In 1991, she was recognized by the International Association for Death Education and Counseling for her many contributions to the field.

Growing up in her native Germany, Wass earned her bachelor’s in education there and later earned her master’s and doctorate from the University of Michigan. As part of a cultural exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Education Department, she received a yearlong training fellowship for young German educators in 1951 to study democracy in American schools and communities. She immigrated to the United State in 1957 to teach in the Pittsfield, MA. School system, where she’d visited during her fellowship year.

Her teaching and research focus was on the broad spectrum of human development, from childhood and adolescence to adulthood, aging, death and grief. 

Wass is the namesake of the College of Education’s Dr. Hannelore Wass Endowed Scholarship. She and her late husband, Harry H. Sisler, established the endowment in 2004 for deserving graduate students in education.

Details of her funeral service had not been announced at this writing. You can watch for her funeral announcement, read her complete obituary and express condolences on the website of Forest Meadows Funeral Homes in Gainesville:

You also may convey your condolences in a comment below.

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Professor receives international honor for impact in special education

GAINESVILLE, Fla.—University of Florida education professor Mary Brownell, a leading scholar and policy expert in special education and teacher preparation, has received a top honor from the world’s largest advocacy organization for students with special needs.

Mary BrownellThe Teacher Education Division (TED) of the Council for Exceptional Children presented Brownell with the 2013 TED/Pearson Excellence in Teacher Education Award at the council’s annual meeting in San Antonio, April 3-6. The council is the largest international professional organization in special education with more than 30,000 members.

The annual award goes to an individual who has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to teacher preparation in special education, the cultivation of future leaders in the field, or leadership in scholarly work and legislative advocacy.

Brownell, who joined UF’s College of Education in 1991, has made a significant impact in all three areas. She has received numerous university and college honors for teaching and student mentoring, has held an endowed professorship, has co-directed three national centers addressing special education personnel policies and practices, and has advised national law and policy makers on improving the standards and practices of teacher preparation in special education.

She is the college’s top-funded researcher, with phenomenal success in attracting major federal grants on some of the most vital issues in education. She has generated more than $36 million in federal funding from the Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs and its Institute of Education Sciences. Last fall, OSEP awarded $25 million—its largest grant ever—to Brownell and her UF co-researchers Paul Sindelar and Erica McCray. The funding supports their effort to create a national CEEDAR Center (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform) at UF, charged with restructuring and improving teacher preparation in special education in 20 states.

Brownell is just as prolific in disseminating her researching findings, to the benefit of her peers, as evidenced by her authorship of three books and dozens of book chapters and articles in refereed journals, and countless conference presentations and invited addresses. She recently collaborated on editing a handbook of research on special education teacher preparation.

“Mary is the most important contemporary scholar of special education and teacher education,” Sindelar said. “She is a brilliant scholar, an accomplished researcher, a demanding teacher and a gifted and committed mentor. The full measure of her impact on classroom and special education teachers, students with disabilities and other struggling learners will not be known for years to come.”

After more than two decades at UF, Brownell’s scholarly productivity and international reputation have helped the University of Florida join the top-tier of American special-education teacher preparation programs. Special education perennially leads all College of Education program areas in research funding and currently rates sixth nationally in its specialty in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of America’s Best Graduate Schools.

Brownell’s sterling research record may be her most measurable accounting, but her students, past and present, might argue that her teaching and mentorship deserve equal billing. At UF, Brownell has directed multiple research and training projects that provided funding for more than 40 doctoral students not only in special education, but also in curriculum and instruction, school psychology and educational psychology. In 2010, she received a university-wide, doctoral-student mentoring award.

“Developing a serious research agenda focused on teacher quality issues and engaging other scholars in that agenda is of great importance to me,” Brownell said after the CEC award ceremony. “I hope others see me not only as an individual researcher but as a scholar who encourages and helps others to become engaged in this work.“

It’s obvious how her students see her: In award nomination letters, Brownell’s first doctoral student, now a teacher educator, refers to Brownell’s “ability to inspire with deep-rooted passion for her career.” Another recent graduate credits Brownell’s support for her success in winning two nationally recognized dissertation awards and helping her land a highly competitive, tenure-track teaching position.

Sean Smith, associate professor in special education at the University of Kansas, writes in his letter: “As a scholar, I recognize (Dr. Brownell’s) critical work, and as a parent of a school-aged child with a disability I rely on her work when I engage educators working with my son.”

Brownell is the fourth UF special education faculty member to receive the Excellence in Teacher Education Award. Previous recipients were current faculty James McLeskey in 2010 and Paul Sindelar in 2001, and former faculty member Vivian Correa in 2006. Last’s year’s recipient, Fred Spooner of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, also has UF ties: he worked and studied at the College of Education for three years in the late 1970s as a doctoral research fellow and research assistant.

   SOURCE: Mary Brownell, professor, special education, UF College of Education,, 352-273-4261
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education;; 352-273-4137


School Psychology graduate named Outstanding Young Alumnus

The UF College of Education has honored school psychology doctoral graduate Michael Sulkowski with its 2013 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Sulkowski-Michael-4-9-10-088Sulkowski, currently an assistant professor of school psychology at the University of Arizona, received his M.Ed. degree in 2007 and his Ph.D. diploma in 2011 from UF.

His rapid emergence as a high achiever and rising scholar became evident during his graduate coursework and has carried over into his professional life. While at UF, his dissertation research, investigating college students’ willingness to report threats of violence on campus, received wide coverage in the news media and scholarly publications and contributed to his receiving the College of Education’s 2011 outstanding graduate research award.

Sulkowski completed his predoctoral internship at Louisiana State and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of South Florida 

At Arizona, he teaches classes on law and ethics in psychology, behavior modification and personality and social-emotional assessment.

His research focuses on how youth are affected by bullying, peer aggression and school violence. Corollary studies finds him exploring the role of bystanders on bullying and aggression. He also is interested in increasing schools’ mental health services and improving students’ emotional well-being through effective interventions.

His clinical specialties include assessing and treating childhood mood, anxiety, tic, obsessive-compulsive spectrum and disruptive behavior disorders.

The UF Alumni Association honored Sulkowski and other college Young Alumni Award winners April 6 at a ceremony on campus. 



UF doctoral candidate receives $20K grant for dissertation

LianNiuLian Niu, a doctoral candidate in higher education administration at the University of Florida, was awarded with a $20,000 grant from the Association for Institutional Research that will fund her dissertation research.

Niu is one of 10 doctoral students from across the country that received the dissertation grant, which is funded by the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Science Foundation and the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative.

In her research, Niu is exploring the predictors of college students’ enrollment patterns in science, technology, engineering and math majors by looking at students’ family socioeconomic status and financial resources.


Education Leadership grad leaves UF campus a friendlier place for Asian Pacific Islanders

On a post-graduation trip to the Philippines in 2006, Leah Villanueva looked out across the South China Sea as the sun set and was struck by an overwhelming calling to be a teacher.

Villanueva, who identifies as “Filipina-Canadian-American,” had just graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Education with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, but was heading to law school in the fall – or so she had planned.

Growing up in Florida, Villanueva was accustomed to seeing sunsets on the beach. But there was something about that particular Philippine sunset with its picturesque red-orange gradient that “spoke to me,” Villanueva said.

After that trip, Villanueva chose not to attend law school and instead began teaching kindergarten and reading in Kissimmee, Fla., where she stayed for three years.

“I was drawn to education because I really believe in the potential of people and helping people reach that potential,” Villanueva said. “I recognize how nurturing and guidance play a role in reaching that potential, and that’s what a teacher does.”

Villanueva, 28, has just finished her master’s degree in educational leadership at the College of Education. She also has served for the past year and half as the university’s first director of Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs (APIA).

This spring, she moved to the Philippines, becoming one of the first international fellows of the new Teach for the Philippines program, which is similar to the United States’ Teach for America program. Villanueva is one of 10 international fellows who are helping to build the new Teach for the Philippines program. In March, she began co-teaching at an elementary school in Manila, Philippines, as she simultaneously helps to shape the program’s policies.

“I love what I was doing at UF, but this opportunity in the Philippines is a perfect marriage of my passion for cultural identity and social justice and working with young kids,” Villanueva said. “Teach for the Philippines is an educational movement, but it’s also a reinstatement of pride for being Filipino.”

In Toronto, Canada, where she was born, Villanueva never felt like an outsider. But that changed when she moved to Florida during elementary school. There, a classmate slapped her because she was “different,” Villanueva said.

“If, throughout your education, your race or ethnic group is not even mentioned in the textbook or present in the teaching materials and you don’t see other students or teachers who can relate to you, it kind of erases your identity and minimizes your experience,” said Villanueva, who felt like she was “tokenized as the Asian kid” growing up.

Still, she also remembers the positive reaction she received after presenting a project about her Filipina heritage for class in the fourth grade.

“I remember being really scared I was going to be teased ­because I felt that being Filipina is really different,” Villanueva said. “But it was so affirming when my classmates were like, ‘This is so cool!’”

That feeling of acceptance and affirmation is what Villanueva promoted as UF’s APIA director since she arrived there in 2011.

Villanueva credits several College of Education courses for opening her eyes to diversity issues and how to create inclusive environments.

She may have the opportunity to train or mentor Teach for the Philippines participants while she is abroad. She said she intends to eventually become a teacher educator who “encourages her students to take a deep, introspective look at their own identities in order to understand the life experiences of their students and better serve them.”

“I love the classroom, I love the students and I think I’m a good teacher,” said Villanueva, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. “But for me to really chip away at the bigger problems I need to be able to influence and help guide those people who are going to be teaching.”

Writer: Alexa Lopez, news and communications, UF College of Education;; 352-273-4449
Media Relations: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education;; 352-273-4137


Academic women’s group taps doctoral candidate as ‘emerging scholar’

LaurenTrippLauren Tripp, a doctoral candidate in curriculum, teaching and teacher education, was recently honored by the Association for Academic Women as an emerging scholar for her dissertation research.

The association named Tripp as a finalist in its Emerging Scholar competition and will reward her with a $1,000 cash award. The award was created to honor outstanding female graduate students. Tripp will receive the award on March 27 at the Women’s History Month reception.

Tripp’s research investigates the academic success of first-generation black male college students from a high-poverty background. With her findings, she is developing a theory describing the resilience of these college students who are currently attending a large, public, predominantly white university. Tripp said their academic success could be attributed to past challenging teachers, strict discipline from family members, involvement in a gifted or honors program in elementary school, and having male mentors outside of their families.

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ESOL professor picked for Fulbright study in Ukraine

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

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

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

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

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


NEW YORK TIMES: Pilar Mendoza

New York Times
Pilar Mendoza

Pilar Mendoza, an assistant professor in higher education administration, was quoted in a New York Times article about college costs and student debt. The article cited her research findings, published last year in The Journal of Student Financial Aid, showing that students pursuing degrees who work fewer than 30 hours a week in a job were 1.4 times more likely to graduate within six years than students who spent more than 30 hours a week working.


New York Times cites Higher Ed professor’s research on college student debt


Pilar Mendoza, a University of Florida assistant professor in higher education administration, was quoted in a New York Times article Feb. 9 about college costs and student debt.

The Times article cited Mendoza’s research findings, published last year in The Journal of Student Financial Aid, showing that students pursuing degrees who work fewer than 30 hours a week in a job were 1.4 times more likely to graduate within six years than students who spent more than 30 hours a week working.
Mendoza pointed out, though, that working less comes with financial consequences.
“You have two choices,” Mendoza was quoted saying of students whose families could not or would not contribute to their college costs. “You either work or you acquire debt.”

CCFA Bellwether Awards fete top community college innovators

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:  Dale Campbell, Institute of Higher Education, UF College of Education,, 352-273-4300.