COE Faculty Excellence awards

The College of Education annually confers faculty awards designed to encourage and reward excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, and service. The awards provide recognition of the importance the college places on these fundamental areas, publicize the vitality of faculty efforts in these areas and reward faculty who have excelled in their contributions to the university, their disciplines and other communities. The following faculty members were honored May 2, 2014, in the College of Education.

Marilyn A.K. Friga, Clinical Instructor II in the Department of Teaching and Learning, received the COE Teaching Excellence Award for consistently demonstrating exceptional performance in teaching. Mrs. Friga is a National Board Certified Teacher in History for Young Adolescents and Young Adults and has been employed by the college for seven years. Recipients of this award strive to enhance student learning as they continually seek ways to improve their teaching and the impact that has on student learning. Mrs. Friga is a previous Service Award winner of the College and was a nominee for Teaching Excellence at the University level in 2014. Dr. Tammy Benson, Chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning, states, “Mrs. Friga seems to go beyond what is required to help her students be successful, both in her courses and her supervision of interns.”

Mary Ellen Oslick, Assistant Professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, received the COE Research and Scholarship Award, which recognizes individuals whose research and scholarship have expanded human knowledge and contributed to advancing their discipline. Since joining the department in 2011, Dr. Oslick has been consistently active in scholarly activities as evidenced by her publication rate, grant submissions, and presentations at the state, regional, national, and international levels. Her research in areas such as social justice, literacy, and multiculturalism is widely distributed and recognized by others in her field. Dr. Oslick’s article, Children’s Voices: Reactions to a Criminal Justice Issue Picture Book, was selected as the recipient of the 2014 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award. Dr. Kathleen Atkins, Chair of the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, remarked, “Given her productivity and quality of scholarship, Dr. Oslick is most deserving of this award.”

DeeDee Cain, Clinical Instructor in the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, received a COE Service Award for her many contributions ranging from university to statewide service. For many years she has given her time and energy as faculty advisor to the UCA Student Council for Exceptional Children chapter in an effort to impact the development of COE teacher candidates into dedicated professionals. More recently her work to promote the education and service of students with dyslexia in the state of Arkansas has rendered profound results as evidenced by a new state law supporting these students. ECSE department chair Dr. Kathleen Atkins said, “DeeDee Cain is a passionate individual, driven to have a positive impact on future teachers and the students of Arkansas and is therefore most deserving of this award.”

Cain also received received the 2013-2014 North Central Arkansas Reading Council (NCARC) Community Leader Literacy Award. The NCARC hosted a reception to honor her and other ambassadors and literacy award winners on Tuesday, April 29 at the Faulkner County Library.

Donna Wake, Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, received a COE Service Award for three major accomplishments that impacted the college and community in a very positive way this year: coordination of the MAT program, implementation of the BearsWrite summer writing program for children, and service as president of the Arkansas Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (ACTELA). Beyond coordinating the MAT program, advising and recruiting students, revising the MAT webpage, and managing program initiatives, Wake led the process to revise key assessments with the inclusion of the new Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS) as well as other state initiatives. The Bearswrite Summer Writing Camp brought 30 middle school students on campus to improve their writing skills and increase their knowledge of technology, and drew praise for the degree of service it provided the community. As ACTELA president, Wake was instrumental in the success of the Arkansas Curriculum Conference, which brought hundreds of teachers to Little Rock for professional development. Dr. Wake was the creator and co-chair of EdCamp, an innovative professional development concept that positively affected over 80 attending teachers and faculty from UCA. She is also a consultant for Pre-K Early Literacy in Arkansas which positively impacts preschool teachers across the state. Department of Teaching and Learning Chair Dr. Tammy Benson remarked, “Dr. Wake does an excellent job with teaching, research, and providing the kind of meaningful service that can improve education in Arkansas. Her passion for teaching and improving the lives of children in our state guide her impressive service record.”