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University of Florida Initiative Seeks Solutions to Critical Challenges Affecting Society

The University of Florida is spearheading the search for solutions to society’s most ever-present challenges through its latest initiative.

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Alayna Calhoun recognized by SRATE as David Watts Scholar

Alayna Calhoun, a UF Unified Elementary ProTeach preservice student, was recently recognized as a David Watts Scholar by the Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators (SRATE).

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SITE Program Awarded Innovation in Teacher Education by SRATE

The University of Florida Site-based Implementation of Teacher Education (SITE) program has been recognized as an outstanding teacher education program and was selected to receive the Innovation in Teacher Education Award by the Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators (SRATE).

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Endowed professor raises the bar on teaching English language learners

Bilingual Ed. scholar Maria Coady fills a prestigious endowed Fien professorship that allows her to expand her landmark multilingual studies aimed at helping at-risk English language learners at rural high-poverty schools.

IIHS-HLDI collaborates with UF College of Education on new educational website for science teachers and students

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety collaborated with the UF College of Education to create a new educational website for science teachers and students. The site is a free, online resource featuring hands-on science activities designed by science educator Griff Jones with focus on topics such as inertia, momentum, impulse and energy.

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UF is feeder to leadership posts for LGBT counselor groups

Faculty member John Super and two students in UF’s nationally ranked Counselor Education program have been elected officers of the Florida Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling (FALGBTIC).

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Gov. Scott appoints UF Higher Ed doctoral student

Gov. Scott has appointed John D. Hooker II, a UF doctoral student in Higher Education Administration, to the Higher Education Facilities Financing Authority of Florida.

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EduGators awarded editor posts at national journals

COE faculty scholars Albert Ritzhaupt and Cynthia Griffin have been awarded editorships of leading research journals in their respective disciplines. Alumna Melinda Leko (PhD ’08) also landed a editorship alongside Griffin, her former UF professor.

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Higher Ed assistant professor gets UF excellence award

UF has honored Justin Ortagus, a faculty researcher in Higher Ed Administration and Policy, with its 2018 Excellence Award for Assistant Professors. He also is the new director of the UF Institute of HIgher Education.

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Acclaimed study adds new dimension to college chemistry instruction

To 3D or not to 3D? College instructors in chemistry and other science disciplines are debating whether it’s best to use traditional, two-dimensional renderings of basic structures like organic molecules and crystals, or to adopt new technology that can render images of molecular structures in three dimensions.

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AERA honors UF Special Ed professor for impactful research

Special Education professor Stephen W. Smith, one of the College’s most prolific researchers and federal grant generators, has been chosen to receive the Distinguished Researcher Award from the Special Education Research special interest group of the American Educational Research Association.

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UF College of Education jumps five spots in national rankings; still No. 1 in Florida, and best in Southeast among publics

The UF College of Education jumped five spots in the US News annual rankings of America’s Best Graduate Education Schools–placing 14th among public education colleges and 24th overall. Once again, that makes UF the top-ranked education college in the state and among public institutions in the Southeast.

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COE-STL host conference of education historians; outsiders welcome

Some of the South’s leading scholars and students in the field of education history will gather in Gainesville March 23-24 when the COE hosts the 2018 annual conference of the Southern History of Education Society.

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Novelist’s $3M gift could mean happy ending for struggling readers

Best-selling author James Patterson’s generous donation backs COE’s ‘Literacy Challenge’ to aid Florida’s youngest readers

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UF scholar doubles up on national honors for advancing learning disabilities field

Prof. Mary Brownell is feted twice for leading reform efforts in Special Education teacher preparation.

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COE co-hosts Social Justice Summit

The UF COE co-hosted its 2nd Social Justice Summit: For the Gator Good on Jan. 26-27 on campus. The summit brought together scholars and experts from multiple disciplines, members and advocates of marginalized groups, and other concerned individuals from the university and community to discuss priorities and set aggressive action strategies for eradicating social and racial injustices and biases in the greater Gainesville area.

UF College of Education online programs ranked best in state, No. 2 in U.S.

The College of Education at the University of Florida continues to stake claim as the state’s best online graduate degree program in education and rates second best in the nation, according to the annual rankings released today (Jan. 9) by U.S. News and World Report magazine.

Algebra Nation Aims To Incorporate Personalized Learning Features

The Virtual Learning Lab, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, is relying on the collaboration of nationally acclaimed researchers to evaluate Algebra Nation and its effects on students’ overall performance in Algebra I.


States unite to boost teaching of students with disabilities

The UF-led effort to help 20 states across the nation vastly improve teaching and school leadership for students with disabilities has received a $21 million boost to strengthen the program add more states.

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Novelist’s $3M gift for literacy initiatives kick-starts college’s capital campaign

James Patterson, the world’s bestselling author, has donated $3 million to support the college’s transformative literacy initiatives aimed at doubling the number of students in Florida who can read proficiently.

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Counselor Ed. professor doubles up on national laurels

Shon D. Smith, clinical assistant professor in Counselor Education, has recently drawn national attention in his field for two major achievements involving separate divisions of the American Counseling Association (ACA).

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Learning disabilities group honors UF Special Ed grad

UF Special Education alumnus David Allsopp (MEd ’90, Specific Learning Disabilities; PhD, ’95, Special Education), has been named the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year by the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA).

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World’s largest education research group honors UF grad school dean

Henry “Hank” Frierson, associate vice president and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Florida with a faculty appointment at the College of Education, has received the Presidential Citation from the American Educational Research Association.

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COE repeats No. 1 ranking in US for online graduate degrees

U.S. News and World Report rated the distance education program at the University of Florida College of Education as America’s best online graduate education degree program for the second consecutive year.

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COE scholar: Students with disabilities more involved in bullying over time

Bullying graphic

Graphic courtesy of Kari Weis, Columbia (Mo.) Missourian

Research by education scholars has shown that students with disabilities are generally more likely to be victimized and to perpetrate bullying than other students.

But few studies have examined whether this discrepancy in bullying behavior changed over time as students advanced through grades.

Now a new study co-authored by UF College of Education scholar Nicholas Gage has found that the students with disabilities in the third through 12th grades are consistently more involved in bullying than other students.

“We were not surprised there was a gap in bullying, but our most notable finding was that this gap remained the same over time,” said Gage, UF College of Education assistant professor of special education.

Disproportionate bullying

Generally, as students progress in age, the level of bullying declines across all groups of students. But students with disabilities consistently are more likely involved in bullying.

For example, 44 percent of third-grade students reported some level of bullying, Gage said. In contrast, the rate was 66 percent among third-graders with a disability. In fifth grade, 40 percent of these same students reported bullying while 60 percent of students with disabilities said they were bullied or engaged in bullying. Overall, 21.8 percent of students with disabilities were bullied versus 14.5 percent of students without disabilities.

Nicholas Gage

UF College of Education Assistant Professor Nicholas Gage.

Gage co-authored with Chad A. Rose, professor of education at the University of Missouri, the study, “Exploring the Involvement of Bullying Among Students with Disabilities over Time,” which is published in the academic journal Exceptional Children.

The scholars evaluated the victimization and perpetration rates of 6,531 students in a school district in Connecticut; Gage did post-doctorate work at the University of Connecticut’s Institute of Education Science. Gage and Rose analyzed the responses third through twelfth graders provided in a survey of bullying over a three-year period.

Bullying defined

The scholars used a generally accepted definition of bullying as pervasive peer aggression with the intention to cause physical or emotional harm.

Roughly 16 percent of the students surveyed had a disability. These disabilities included: autism spectrum disorder, emotional disturbance, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other health impairments. These students were integrated into general classrooms.

Previous studies on the victimization of students with disabilities reported increased verbal abuse (e.g., name-calling, mimicking disability characteristics, teasing), social exclusion, and physical aggression when compared with nondisabled peers. Scholars have said one serious concern is that over time victimized students may develop aggressive characteristics as a strategy to combat the victimization.

Gage said that students with disabilities are less likely to have the social and communication skills to avoid bullying.

As a result, Gage says schools need to increase their efforts to build an awareness, increase teacher training and develop ways to combat bullying in the education plans of students with disabilities.

“Kids with disabilities may need some bullying intervention to recognize and also develop social skills to prevent bullying,” Gage said. “And schools and teachers need to develop more proactive approaches around bullying, particularly for kids with disabilities. It’s about working with schools and teachers to develop competency and social skills that can have a positive impact.”

Source: Nicholas Gage, 352-273-4282
Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449

UF teams with education tech firm to develop leadership program for Colorado educators

GAINESVILLE, Fla.  – The University of Florida joined with Promethean, a global education technology company, in announcing their collaboration on a novel, peer-coaching program to provide leadership development training to educators of Priority Improvement/Turnaround schools in Colorado.

Promethean and the UF Lastinger Center for Learning, the teaching and learning innovation incubator at the university’s College of Education, were approved by the Colorado Department of Education as one of six providers in the state as part of the School Turnaround Leaders Development grant program. The grant program addresses the critical need to train qualified education leaders in low-performing schools and districts to dramatically improve student achievement. Participants will learn and practice coaching skills, grapple with challenges to student achievement, and build their capacities to lead in Priority Improvement/Turnaround Schools.

Dr. Mark Quintana, Promethean Senior Education Consultant and advisor, said, “In a turnaround school environment, educators face unique challenges as they work to significantly improve student achievement. Training that results in a successful school or district transformation will address specific practices and strategies that support educators in meeting the needs of their student population.”

Phil Poekert


Philip Poekert, Assistant Director of the UF Lastinger Center and project manager of the Colorado effort, said the school turnaround program is geared for instructional leaders who serve or aspire to serve as teacher leaders, instructional coaches, school administrators, district administrators, and charter school management staff in low-performing schools.

Participants will attend a four-day summer session as well as two full-day sessions and three half-day sessions throughout the school year, all led by instructors trained by UF and Promethean. Enrolled educators are expected to implement what they have learned, and at the end of the school year will present their findings and improvements to earn a Promethean/UF Turnaround School Leaders Certificate. It is recommended that each participant serve his or her low-performing school for a minimum of two years.

“Our research-based program focuses on the most important thing that happens in schools: the quality of teaching,” Poekert said. “By increasing the capacity of instructional leaders to lead data-driven coaching conversations and integrate technology in more strategic ways, we can make a meaningful difference in outcomes for students and yield greater impact in a shorter amount of time.”

Districts and schools in the state of Colorado interested in learning more about the UF/Promethean program may learn more at http://lastingercenter.com/portfolio/colorado-turnaround-school-leaders-program.


About Promethean

Promethean is a global education company that improves learning productivity by developing, integrating, and implementing innovative 21st century learning environments that help make everyone more engaged, empowered, and successful. Promethean’s main corporate offices are located in Blackburn, UK, and Atlanta, USA. Promethean is a member of the NetDragon Websoft, Inc. (HKSE: 0777) group of companies.  For more information, please visit www.prometheanworld.com.

About the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning

The UF Lastinger Center for Learning is the University of Florida College of Education’s teaching and learning innovation incubator. The center has become internationally recognized for partnering with school districts, philanthropies, governmental entities and the private sector to research, design, build and field-test innovative learning systems that transform teaching, improve student achievement and promote healthy child development. The Lastinger Center’s reach extends to school systems across Florida, in other states and recently in other nations. For more information, please visit http://lastingercenter.com.

Media Contacts
Suzy Swindle, Promethean, 206-661-0757
Larry Lansford, director of communications, University of Florida, College of Education, 352-273-4137