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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.

EduGator Talk on standardized testing coming to Tampa March 8

Join the UF College of Education and Tampa Gator Club to connect with fellow Gators and gain insight into one of the most hotly debated topics in public education: standardized testing.

In addition to hors d’oeuvres and genuine camaraderie, 30 minutes of the evening will be set aside for representatives from the UF College of Education and Hillsborough County Public Schools to weigh-in on the circumstances surrounding, and consequences of, standardized testing in schools.

UF College of Education Faculty: Dorene Ross and Sevan Terzian

Gator Alumnae and Hillsborough County Public Schools Representatives: Melissa Snively (board member) and Angelique Xenick (supervisor, high school guidance services)

When: Tuesday, March 8, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: The Rusty Pelican, 2425 N. Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607
RSVP: Register online before March 4.

Here is more to know about the UF faculty speakers:

Ross, Dorene 081 (cropped mug_'06)

Dorene Ross

Dorene Ross is a professor emerita from the School of Teaching and Learning, where she also served as interim director from 2000-2003. She also consults as a professional development specialist for UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning and has collaborated with Lastinger specialists to develop an Instructional Coaching Professional Development sequence used with coaches, instructional leaders and building administrators. She has a long history of work in schools and teacher education with emphasis on preparing teachers to work with diverse student populations.


Sevan Terzian

Sevan Terzian

Sevan Terzian is an associate professor of social foundations of education and associate director for graduate studies in the School of Teaching and Learning. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on the history of U.S. education and the philosophical foundations of education. His scholarship has focused on the history of science education, popular media and education, and the history of technology and education. He has published two books, Science Education and Citizenship: Fairs, Clubs, and Talent Searches for American Youth (2013), and American Education in Popular Media: From the Blackboard to the Silver Screen (2015). He is researching a book about the history of gifted education.

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UF online graduate education rated best in nation

Online Grad Ed rankings (2016, top 5)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The distance education program at the University of Florida College of Education, already recognized for having some of the nation’s best e-learning students, now can stake a claim as America’s best online graduate education degree program overall, according to the latest national rankings announced Jan. 12 by U.S. News and World Report magazine.

UF was tied for first with the University of Houston in the new 2016 rankings of America’s Best Online Graduate Education Programs, improving by 12 spots over last year. For the second year in a row, UF also received the survey’s highest score for “admissions selectivity”—considered an indicator of the high quality of its students.

UF now is the top-ranked education college in Florida and among public education schools in the Southeast in both online and on-campus graduate degree programs. The College of Education also was UF’s highest-rated online program in the survey.

This is the fifth year that U.S. News has numerically ranked online learning programs in higher education. Education is one of seven disciplines at the master’s degree level that were rated. Programs were ranked based on five weighted factors: student engagement (35%), student services and technology (20%), admissions selectivity (15%), faculty credentials and training (15%), and peer reputation (15%).

“Our distance ed courses are designed by top-flight faculty using the latest knowledge about best practices in web-based learning environments,” UF education Associate Dean Tom Dana said. “Our goal is to develop master educators who can lead transformations in practice.”

COE online instructors work with the college’s instructional design creative teams to produce high-quality videos, both for on-screen lessons and “virtual field trips” (Photo courtesty of Matt Stamey/Gainesville Sun)

COE online instructors work with the college’s instructional design creative teams to produce high-quality videos, both for on-screen lessons and “virtual field trips” (Photo courtesy of Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun)

Dana said a key distinction of the UF online program is its cohort instructional approach, meaning the students start and complete the degree coursework together, which Dana said creates more opportunities for students to interact with each other and with their instructors.

“The cohort model has been shown to increase student retention and the graduation rate,” he said.

Dana has steered the development of the college’s e-learning program since its inception in 2004, when 57 students enrolled in three online graduate courses. In 2015, more than 1,750 students were enrolled in 160 online courses.

The College of Education offers eight Web-based degree programs, geared mainly to working teachers and school administrators seeking additional certifications, career advancement or professional development. The five online graduate education programs considered in the U.S. News rankings were: curriculum and instruction; educational leadership; educational technology; reading, language and literacy; and special education.

“Many of our online instructors are full-time college faculty members and nationally recognized as experts in their field,” Dana said. “All online instructors receive training in the technology and best practices of online learning.”

Many instructors have worked with the college’s instructional design team and digital creative staff to produce high-quality videos, both for on-screen lessons and for “virtual field trips” that allow students to see and hear some of Florida’s most inspiring teachers and school administrators in action and discussing best practices and professional insights.

best-online-programs-grad-education-2016“The videos link to a specific assignment or learning activity,” said Bruce Mousa, coordinator of UF’s educational leadership online degree program. Mousa also has been known to upload videos from his personal computer to provide feedback to individual students.

Education Professor Sevan Terzian even incorporates some Ken Burns-like production techniques to deliver engaging content in his Education and American Culture online course, such as inserting historical images accompanied by captions and his voice-over narration.

“I wouldn’t be the first to say there is a small element of performance in everything we do,” Terzian said with a smile.

For more information, visit the college’s distance learning website at

The full rankings and rankings data for Best Online Programs in Graduate Education are publicly posted on the U.S. News website at

SOURCE: Tom Dana, associate dean, UF College of Education;; 352-273-4134
SOURCE: Jason Arnold, associate direct of e-learning, technology and creative services, UF College of Education;; 352-273-4442
WRITER / MEDIA RELATIONS: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education;; 352-273-4137


Pop some popcorn and ease into Sevan Terzian’s new book on American education in popular media

Sevan Terzian with his latest book, featuring several UF education alumni contributors

Sevan Terzian with his latest book, featuring several UF education alumni contributors

What iconic character types spring to mind when you think of your school days: Playground bully or rope-jumping queen? Jocks and cheerleaders? Freaks and geeks? Despotic principal? Inspirational teacher or professor?

Are your most vivid school memories totally of your own experiences, or might they be shaped—at least partly—by the powerful media images depicting school in literature, film, television and music?

Well, “make some popcorn, find your favorite chair, and ease into this delightful collection of essays that charts the historical evolution of popular portrayals of American schooling.”

That is the advice of Benjamin Justice, associate professor of education and history at Rutgers University, in his review of a newly published volume co-edited by Sevan G. Terzian, an associate professor and director of graduate studies in teaching and learning at the University of Florida College of Education. The book also features essays by several other UF-educated scholars.

In the book, “American Education in Popular Media: From the Blackboard to the Silver Screen,” co-editors Terzian and Patrick A. Ryan, a 2008 UF graduate in curriculum and instruction/English education and now an education professor at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., examine how popular media have represented schooling in the United States over the course of the 20th century.

So, what’s your favorite flick, TV show, or book depicting the schooling life? Dead Poet’s Society? To Sir With Love? Dangerous Minds? Beavis and Butthead? Rock and Roll High School? Glee? How about Catcher in the Rye or the Saturday Evening Post?

You’ll read about these and so many other familiar depictions in American Education in Popular Media. But the 217-page volume is more than a fun media stroll down School Days Memory Lane. The 10 essays collected and edited by Terzian and Ryan explore prevalent portrayals of students and professional educators while addressing contested purposes of schooling in American life.

But keep the popcorn close by. It’s a fun read.

Readers, beware, though. “This book will sneak up on you,” opines reviewer Donald Warren, professor emeritus in education history and policy at Indiana University. “The no-holds-barred historical examination of American education helps us remember and rethink—after all, we all went to school. And it exposes in provocative detail the durable imprint of media on the education of the public.”

“This book project originated from research seminars and collaborations with Ph.D. students in our School of Teaching & Learning whose interest in the educative dimensions of American popular culture continued to grow,” Terzian said. “They envisioned a thematically coherent volume of essays, and we are pleased with the result.”

Co-editors Terzian and Ryan also teamed up on the book’s opening essay on Popular Media Representations of American Schooling from the Past, and Ryan also wrote a chapter on The Sacrificial Image of the Teacher in Popular Media, 1945-59.

Three other essays were penned by UF doctoral graduates in curriculum and instruction, as follows:

  • Andrew L. Grunzke (PhD ’07, specializing in foundations of education), now an associate professor at Mercer University, writes on The Importance of Teaching Ernest: The Fool Goes Back to School in Television and Film Comedies in the Late Twentieth Century;
  • Bob Dahlgren (’08, social studies education in 2008), an associate professor of social studies education and chair of curriculum and instruction at the State University of New York at Fredonia, writes on Prosaic, Perfunctory Pedagogy: Representations of Social Studies Teachers and Teaching in 1970s and 1980s Movies;
  • Amy Martinelli (PhD ‘15, social foundations of education) writes on Fears on Film: Representations of Juvenile Delinquency in Educational Media in Mid-Twentieth Century America; she now is an adjunct lecturer in communication studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Other contributors include leading education scholars Kate Rousmaniere (Miami University of Ohio), Dan Perlstein (UC Berkeley) and Dan Clark (Indiana State University), and emerging education history scholars Heather Weaver (University of Sydney, Australia) and Michelle Morgan (Missouri State University).

American Education in Popular Media Is published by Palgrave Macmillan, a global academic publisher and part of Macmillan Science and Education, and can be purchased in hardcover or e-book on the publisher’s website.

   SOURCE: Sevan Terzian, UF College of Education; 352-273-4216;;
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, Director, COE News & Communications, UF College of Education;352-273-4137;;


Vialogues — Sevan Terzian discusses evolution of science education

Sevan Terzian discussion on the evolution of science education
Sevan Terzian, associate professor of social foundations of education, discusses on Vialogue’s “The Voice” online discussion platform how the growth of science fairs and science talent searches in the mid-20th century has affected the evolution of science education even to this day.


STL professor recalls ‘Cosmos’ host Carl Sagan as star among the stars

It’s a small cosmos.

Sevan Terzian

Sevan Terzian

Sevan Terzian, an associate professor in the College of Education’s school of teaching and learning (STL), grew up knowing Carl Sagan, the vastly popular astronomer of the 1970s and ‘80s who was the host of the original 1980 “Cosmos” TV series on PBS that delved into the origins of our universe.

Sagan died in 1996 but his “Cosmos” series was resurrected this month by producer Seth MacFarlane, a science enthusiast whom many know as the creative force behind the animated TV sitcom “Family Guy.” According to a recent CNN news report, the updated series of “Cosmos” and its “ship of the imagination” — piloted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson — received excellent reviews after the first of 13 episodes aired on Sunday, March 9 on Fox, the National Geographic Channel and their affiliates.

Terzian knew Sagan because Terzian’s father, Yervant, was chairman of the astronomy department for two decades at Cornell University, where Sagan taught after being denied tenure at Harvard University.

“Not many people know that about Sagan and Harvard,” said Terzian, whose father has edited seven books, including Carl Sagan’s Universe. “Sagan was a family friend. I met him when I was about nine years old, before he had become really popular.

Carl Sagan, original "Cosmos" host

Carl Sagan, original “Cosmos” host

“Carl was a man of enduring hope,” added Terzian, who also heads STL’s graduate studies program. “He wanted to share his knowledge in ways that would help resolve social problems by helping humankind to understand its place in the universe. ‘Cosmos’ elevated his visibility greatly, and it’s remarkable how popular he became globally.”

Terzian also remembers – with a smile and a chuckle — when “Cosmos” first aired.

“I’m pretty sure it was a Sunday night because my younger sister and I wanted to watch the Muppets,” he said. “I was 11 years old, and we only had one TV. No one had VCRs back then, and I remember my father insisting that we watch ‘Cosmos’ because he needed to be able to answer questions about it the next day, in case anyone in the astronomy department asked him about it.

“So ‘The Muppet Show’ got preempted,” Terzian added with a laugh. “But I ended up really enjoying ‘Cosmos.’ I didn’t know it at the time, but it helped me to grasp the notion that science and history really matter — enormously.”

Terzian would go on to graduate from Cornell with a bachelor’s degree in history, and later receive a master’s degree in history from Indiana University before earning two Ph.Ds — in American studies and the history of education – in 2000, also at IU. He joined the UF education faculty in 2004.

Terzian’s book, “Science Education and Citizenship: Fairs, Clubs and Talent Searches for American Youth,” was published by Palgrave Macmillan in January 2013.


Education pundit Diane Ravitch to hold Norman Hall ‘chat’ during UF appearance Jan. 22

Education historian Diane Ravitch, a best-selling author, scholar and outspoken thought leader of  American education trends and policies, will stop by Norman Hall on Jan. 22 for an informal, hour-long conversation with UF College of Education students, faculty and staff. 

Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch

The “Conversation and Q&A with Diane Ravitch” will start at 3 p.m. in Room 250. Limited seating (along with complimentary pizza) is available on a first-come-first-served basis. Sevan Terzian, associate professor of social foundations of education, will moderate the chat. 

Ravitch, a research professor at New York University and a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush, will give a public lecture on campus that evening, from 7-9 p.m., in University Auditorium. Admission is free but tickets are required (by State Fire Marshal) and available at the door and at Ravitch’s afternoon appearance at Norman Hall.

The College of Education and the UF Honors Program are primary sponsors of Ravitch’s evening lecture and the university’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service is a co-sponsor.

Ravitch is the author of more than a dozen books about education, including the recent bestseller “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools.” She also wrote “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education” (2010).  Her lectures on democracy and civic education have been translated into many languages.

As Assistant Education Secretary, she led the federal effort to promote the creation of voluntary state and national academic standards. She previously served on the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the national Assessment of Education Progress, the federal testing program. The National Education Association in 2010 selected Ravitch as its “Friend of Education.”

Ravitch, a Houston native, has a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. She blogs at  

Her complete biography is available on her website at:

   SOURCE: Jodi Mount, UF College of Education,, 352-273-4142
   WRITER/MEDIA CONTACT: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education;; 352-273-4137


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. 


UF education, medical colleges team up on new master’s degree to help doctors become better teachers

The University of Florida colleges of Education and Medicine have joined forces to offer a new master’s degree program geared toward not only helping physicians be better teachers, but also training them to be scholars in the field.

The online joint master’s degree program will begin in the fall and is open to physicians across the state.

“Most faculty arrive at their position without any formal training in teaching techniques and best practices,” said Marian Limacher, M.D., senior associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development in the College of Medicine. “They have been students so long themselves they have developed their own style, but it may not be founded in best practices.”

Teaching is generally not a skill taught in medical school, as physicians-in-training are more focused on learning about the process of disease and how to treat patients. But as physicians move forward in their careers and become teachers themselves, of medical students, residents and fellows, there is a need for more advanced knowledge in instructional strategies and also research methods used to measure educational outcomes, which differ from the research techniques used in medical science.


“Many health science professionals have been exposed to a monochromatic view of education that is lecture-based and behavioristically driven,” said Erik Black, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of Medicine department of pediatrics and the College of Education School of Teaching and Learning. “That is not necessarily where medical education is going. Today, there is a growing emphasis on small group learning, team-based learning and constructivist principles of instruction and learning.

“There is a need for medical educators to learn about and incorporate more contemporary educational methods. It is something students request and something faculty want but do not necessarily know how to deliver.”

The 36-hour master’s degree program will arm physicians with instructional strategies they can use in the clinical education setting and give them the tools to assess educational efforts, as well. Courses include subjects such as instructional design, research methods in professional and medical education, adult teaching and learning and more.The program stems from a pilot project faculty members in the colleges of Education and Medicine have been working on for the past two years. As part of that project, funded by the Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, five UF physicians and a pharmacist are receiving master’s degrees in education, with a focus on using technology in education.

“We see so much potential in the connection between our two colleges. It is a unique arrangement and has helped us to move this work along,” said Elizabeth Bondy, professor and director of the School of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education. “At the bedside, there is a lot of teaching and learning that goes on in those moments. What we do in the School of Teaching and Learning is focus on teaching and learning in diverse settings.”

UF education technology professors Kara Dawson and Cathy Cavanaugh were instrumental in the degree program’s creation while Bondy and School of Teaching and Learning faculty members Kent Crippen, Dorene Ross and Sevan Terzian have worked on developing the curriculum.

Eventually, the program likely will be opened up to professionals in other health fields as well, Black said.

For clinical educators in the College of Medicine, the issue is particularly important. The college is currently revising its tenure and promotion guidelines so that faculty who have pursued advanced education in teaching and who are conducting research in medical education can use this in their tenure applications, Limacher said.

“We think this program will have appeal to a number of folks within the College of Medicine,” Limacher said.