Gladys Sachse Scholarship Awarded

The UCA College of Education program is pleased to announce that Lavonda Pierce and Angela Criss have been awarded the Gladys Sachse Scholarship for the 2015-16 academic year.

The Gladys Sachse Endowment provides $1,000 each to two students accepted into the UCA College of Education Master of Science degree program in Library Media and Information Technologies (LMIT) and who plan to become a school librarian.  Their selection out of six applicants was based upon academic achievement with consideration given to financial need.  Candidates for the scholarship must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above in their education major.

lpierceLavonda Pierce is currently a teacher in the Belair Middle School in Pine Bluff. She plans to graduate from UCA’s Library Media program in December, 2105. Once she graduates and is in a school library media center, she plans to implement several ideas and concepts that she learned from her program.

In particular,

  • she plans to actively collaborate with teachers to “shape the learning” of her students in the school
  • conduct needs assessment for the staff and students
  • design activities that will lead to an increase in student achievement
  • take the initiative to ensure that teachers know what resources are available and how they may use them effectively in teaching
  • be a support for all the end users at her school
  • Continue to grow professionally through participation professional library association.

Lavonda further states: “I believe that the key to any effective program is communication. I want the media center to be the center of the school, not an afterthought, so I plan to communicate my vision and goals to the administration, staff, students and parents. I want everyone to know what I have for them and what I can do for them.”

acrissAngela Criss is working as the librarian at Harrisburg Middle School while pursuing her library media degree. This is her “dream job.” Her secret ambition was always to be a librarian. She plans to graduate from UCA’s Library Media program in December, 2016. Angela would like remain in school library positions from 5th grade to 12th grade. She is an avid reader and loves to share her passion with students. Angela has promoted several fun and interesting activities in her library that include:

  • Book fairs
  • A trick-or-treat activity at Halloween where students drew titles out of a pumpkin, then located the title in the library and then read the book in question
  • A “book tasting” event where she set the library up as a café so students could pass around new books
  • And write the titles of ones they would like to read in the future on their “menu”
  • Angela’s school was recently awarded an Apple grant and all students will be receiving iPads
  • It is noteworthy that Angela used a library “improvement design” assignment from one of her library media classes for a grant application and she was awarded $4,400 for improvements to her own library media center.

Civility Center Recognizes COE Faculty

CC logoThe Civility Center has listed Civility, Compassion, and Courage in Schools Today: Strategies for Implementing in K-12 Classrooms as a resource for their Civility at School Toolkit. The book was co-authored by Drs. Patty Kohler-Evans and Candice Barnes.

The Civility Center also recognizes Drs. Kohler-Evans and Barnes as key speakers on teaching Civility at School.

For more information, visit the Civility Center’s website at

Congratulations to Drs. Kohler-Evans & Barnes!

COE Faculty Member Recognized as SIM Professional Development Leader

Patty-Kohler-Evans-210x280Dr. Patty Kohler-Evans has been recognized as a Strategic Instructional Model (SIM) Professional Development Leader, the highest level of SIM professional development, in both Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routines. She also received the micro-credential as a Preservice Professional Developer.

A Preservice Content Enhancement professional developer (PDer) has actively participated in approximately 30 hours of instruction and learning experiences at KUCRL. During that time, the PDer engaged in experiences important to effectively implementing the components of SIM. The KUCRL recognizes that the PDer often has experienced a high degree of professional preparation, demonstrated skills in teacher preparation, and faces demands that differ from the in-service level. 

For more information on SIM, please visit the SIM website.

COE Faculty Member to Receive the 2015 NAGC Early Scholar Award

logoDr. Alicia Cotabish has been selected to receive the 2015 NAGC Early Scholar Award presented by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC).  The Early Scholar Award is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions in conducting and reporting research regarding the education of gifted and talented individuals, and who is in the first 10 years of the field or the first 10 years after completion of his or her last earned degree.

The award will be presented on Friday, November 13, 2015, at 5:00 PM during the Celebration of Excellence to be held at the Sheraton Phoenix in Phoenix, AZ at NAGC’s 62nd Annual Convention.

For more information, please visit the NAGC website.

Kappa Delta Pi Achieving Chapter Excellence Award

Congratulations to the Pi Beta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi at the University of Central Arkansas! The UCA chapter has been named as one of the 2015 Achieving Chapter Excellence Award winners. The award is only given to Kappa Delta Pi chapters that demonstrate excellence in membership, leadership development, and programming in support of the Society’s mission and strategic goals.




The achievement will be recognized at the 50th Biennial Convocation in Orlando, FL on October 22-24, 2015. The award will be presented during the Opening General Session on Thursday, October 22 at 5:15 p.m.

For more information on this award, please visit the KDP website.

COE Faculty Member Elected to AERA Special Interest Group

Dr. Alicia Cotabish

Dr. Alicia Cotabish

Dr. Alicia Cotabish, Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning and Gifted Education Program Coordinator in the College of Education, has been elected to serve a two-year term as a board member of the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent special interest group (SIG).

The SIG deals with research studies that focus on how giftedness, talent, and creativity are developed and nurtured. The group encourages both international and national studies involving qualitative and/or quantitative methods in a wide variety of topics: Conceptions, Models, Identification, Programs and Practices, Counseling, Creativity, Thinking Skills, Disabilities, Parenting, and Diversity.  Their mission is to provide leadership that encourages and promotes high-quality scholarship addressing giftedness, creativity, and talent; creates a community of scholars and leaders in the field; facilitates communication and dissemination of research both within and outside the field; nurtures future scholars; and advances research in the field.

Currently, Dr. Cotabish is the President of the Arkansas Association of Gifted Education Administrators (AAGEA) and serves as an expert speaker for the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC).  She is also serving a three year term on the highly selective Standards Committee for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

The College of Education is honored to have Dr. Cotabish among our distinguished faculty.

COE Graduate Student Turns Experiential Learning into $4,400 Grant

Dr. Jud Copeland, associate professor of Leadership Studies, is always happy to report how his students are successfully applying classroom concepts to real situations. In the Library Media (LIBM 6380) Administration of Information Programs class, students are required to remodel an existing library media center facility or to design a new one. The Facilities Design assignment requires the investigation of a current school library media center design, obtaining a copy of the blueprints, rating the current facilities, and determining if the center meets the current population’s needs (its strengths and weaknesses).

LIBM student Angela Criss awarded Lowe's grant to implement her library improvement design.

LIBM student Angela Criss awarded Lowe’s grant to implement her library improvement design.

Angela Criss, who is working as the librarian at Harrisburg Middle School while pursuing her library media master degree at UCA, used her own library at the middle school to develop the library improvement design for Dr. Copeland’s class.  She then used the information from the assignment to apply for a Lowe’s grant and was recently awarded $4,400 to incorporate part of those changes to the Harrisburg Middle School library media center, including an outdoor reading space.

Angela has promoted several fun and interesting activities in her library that include:

  • Book fairs
  • A trick-or-treat activity at Halloween where students drew titles out of a pumpkin and then located the title in the library and then read the book in question
  • A “book tasting” event where she set up the library as a café so students could pass around new books and write the titles of ones they would like to read in the future on their “menu”
  • Angela’s school was recently awarded an Apple grant and all students will be receiving iPads

COE to Offer National Board Certification Pre-Candidacy Course this Summer

National Board certification is the highest mark of professional accomplishment in teaching. It allows teachers to hone their practice, showcase their talent in the classroom, and demonstrate their dedication to their students and their profession. Furthermore, NBCTs are recognized across the nation because they’ve met the highest standards set by the profession. School and district administrators often look for NBCTs when making hiring decisions and identifying educators to serve as leaders in their schools.

Pursuing Board certification has many other benefits, including the opportunity to become part of a larger network of accomplished teachers shaping the profession as well as a $5,000 stipend payable by the state of Arkansas for 10 years. During the process, candidates reflect on best practices and find immediate classroom applications of what they’ve learned.

The University of Central Arkansas recognizes this need for more National Board Certified Teachers in our classrooms. We currently offer a yearly Candidate Support Site mentoring and coaching teachers through the National Board process.

Now, UCA will be offering a Pre-Candidacy Course during the Summer II session. This course will prepare teachers to embark upon National Board Certification by preparing them to know the standards, get organized, and differentiate between the types of writing required for certification. We would love to have you join us in our Pre-Candidacy Course. Please see the attached flyer for more information.



College of Education Graduate Recognized as Apple Distinguished Educator

jessica_herringJessica Herring, teacher at Benton Middle School in Benton, Arkansas, has been accepted into the internationally recognized Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) Program’s Class of 2015.  There are, on average, over 900 applicants to this program in North America each cycle. Ms. Herring is one of only 75 educators in North America elected this year to join the more than 2000 educators worldwide who are passionately committed to the improvement of teaching and learning through educational technology.  Herring is one of only three Apple Distinguished Educators in Arkansas.

The Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) Program began in 1994, when Apple recognized K-12 and higher education pioneers who are using a variety of Apple products to transform teaching and learning in powerful ways.  Today it has grown into a worldwide community of over 2,000 visionary educators and innovative leaders who are doing amazing things with technology in and out of the classroom.  More information on this group of innovative educators is available online at

Jessica graduated from the Middle Level Education program at UCA in 2010 and earned her Masters from the Advanced Studies in Teacher Leadership in Summer 2013. She currently teaches 7th grade at Benton Middle School and serves as an adjunct professor in the UCA Master of Arts in Teaching program. She is also a member of the Arkansas Council for Teachers of English Language Arts.

College of Education Dean Recognized at 2015 AERA National Conference

dianapDean Diana Pounder, Ph.D., was recognized at the April 2015 American Education Research Association Conference (AERA).  AERA is a professional organization of educational researchers nationally, and its annual conference typically attracts approximately 15,000 participants and presenters.  The Learning and Teaching in Educational Leadership Special Interest Group awarded her their Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award for her research and service contributions to leadership preparation and program evaluation.

Additionally, Dr. Pounder served as a faculty mentor to educational leadership doctoral candidates participating in the AERA-Division A/UCEA Dave Clark Seminar.  Clark Seminar faculty mentors provide guidance to competitively selected doctoral students about their dissertation work, their career paths, and their professional growth and achievement.