Dr. Alicia Cotabish, a newly appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in UCA’s College of Education, is being awarded the National Association for Gifted Children Early Leader Award. The Early Leader Award is given to “an individual who has exhibited the highest and most consistent degree of leadership in the gifted education field since receiving his or her doctorate”. The award was presented to Dr. Cotabish at the NAGC national conference in Denver, Colorado, in November 2012.
Dr. Cotabish comes to UCA as a 2007 doctoral graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where she majored in Administration and Supervision with an emphasis in Gifted and Talented Administration. Before working in higher education, Dr. Cotabish taught eight years in the public school system as an elementary and middle school science teacher, a gifted and talented teacher, and as an award-winning district-level gifted program administrator. Previously, she was the Associate Director of the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and served as one of two Principal Investigators of STEM Starters, a federally-funded Javits project. In addition, Dr. Cotabish coordinated the Arkansas Evaluation Initiative in Gifted Education, a federally-funded state-wide school program evaluation initiative. She has delivered more than 100 professional development workshops and presentations focused on STEM and gifted education at local, state, national, and international venues.
Dr. Cotabish received the 2012 Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education Challenger Award for her work in STEM and gifted education and was the recipient of the Educator Award from the organization in 2007. She was honored with the Texas A&M University – Texarkana Distinguished Alumna Award in 2008. In 2006, the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) awarded her the Doctoral Student Award for potential leadership and early scholarship in the field of gifted education. Dr. Cotabish is the currently the President-Elect of the Arkansas Association of Gifted Education Administrators (a constituent arm of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators), the Legislative Co-Chair of Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education, and serves on a dozen other committees for education organizations. Dr. Cotabish serves on six Editorial Review Board including the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Journal for the Education of the Gifted, Administrative Issues Journal, TEMPO, Gifted Child Quarterly, and Teaching for High Potential. Her recent work has focused on STEM education, school administration, and low-income promising learners.
Dr. Cotabish’s expertise in gifted education and STEM education will be a valued asset to UCA’s College of Education in launching the new Gifted and Talented endorsement program, the STEMTEACH program for math and science undergraduate teacher candidates, and the Transition to Teaching program for post-bacclaureate math and science teacher candidates.