2014 Teacher Pinning Ceremony

coe seal high quality white backgroundThe Teacher Pinning Ceremony is a time-honored tradition marking the occasion when one is welcomed into the teaching profession. It is a symbolic ceremony denoting a milestone in an educator’s life. Candidates will be presented a College of Education pin that not only signifies their association with the university, but also represents their affiliation with the honorable profession of teaching. Many professions hold this type of ceremony to honor their new colleagues. This is the eighth year that the College of Education has held a Pinning Ceremony. In the past, many of our honorees have said this event is more meaningful than commencement. Our keynote speaker will be Ms. Trinina Pouncy, a teacher at Ruth Doyle Middle School in Conway.

The ceremony will be held on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in Reynolds Performance Hall on the University of Central Arkansas campus.

CSPA Student Wins Bob Huss Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Kuster, A_2014Congratulations to Amanda Kuster, a current graduate student in the College Student Personnel Services and Administration (CSPA) program in the Department of Leadership Studies (College of Education).  In February, Amanda won the Bob Huss Outstanding Graduate Student Award at the 2014 annual Southwest Association of College and University Housing Officers (SWACUHO) conference held in Ft. Worth, TX.

SWACUHO awards only four Bob Huss awards per year and only one of those to the state of Arkansas. To be considered for the award, nominees must be a currently enrolled graduate student, be living in a residence hall, and have contributed significantly to residence hall living and to the university community on their campus.

Amanda completed her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a B.S. in Chemistry and an individual minor in Japanese. She was involved with Residence Life as a Resident Assistant and, in addition, was a Leaders in Training (LIT) RA liaison and a Volunteer Coordinator/Recognition for a student-run, non-profit organization on campus. Currently, Amanda is the Resident Housing Association advisor for the UCA Housing and Residence Life department.

Amanda will graduate in May with a Master of Science in College Student Personnel Services and Administration.

College of Education Assistant Professor Receives National Publication Award

MaryEllenOslickDr. Mary Ellen Oslick, assistant professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, was recently honored by receiving the 2014 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award for her article, “Children’s Voices: Reactions to a Criminal Justice Issue Picture Book.” Established in 1991, the Virginia Hamilton Essay Award recognizes a journal article published in a given year which makes a significant contribution to professional literature concerning multicultural literary experiences for youth. The award is given annually at the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature, a forum for multicultural themes and issues in literature for children and young adults, held at Kent State University each spring.

College of Education Faculty Receives Teacher Educator Award

angela_websterDr. Angela Webster-Smith, Associate Professor in the Department of Leadership Studies, received the President’s Award at the 2014 Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) Annual Meeting held in St. Louis, MO, in February 2014, for her many contributions to ATE.  ATE is an individual organization that promotes quality teacher education through both exemplary clinical practice and scholarly research.  ATE promotes professionalism, leadership, advocacy, community, and equity for teacher educators, establishing a collegial sense of place in all settings supportive of quality education for all learners at all levels.  Reflective of the ATE Mission and Vision, Dr. Webster-Smith serves on the Corporate By-Laws Committee, Self-Efficacy Commission, Educational Leadership SIG, and Leadership Academy in addition to her many academic presentations.  Highlighting the 2014 ATE Annual Meeting, Dr. Webster-Smith presented a Featured Session about her children’s book, In the Presence of a King, written by Dr. Angela Webster-Smith and illustrated by her adult daughter, Jerica Webster Mitchell.  For more information about In the Presence of a King, contact Dr. Angela Webster-Smith at awebster@uca.edu.

College of Education Graduate, Jessica Herring, Spokesperson for Common Core

Jjessica_herringessica Herring, UCA middle level education graduate and seventh-grade English teacher at Benton Middle School, and two of her students, Ethan Tallent and Blakeley Fiedler, are featured on the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) web page in videos of their speeches to highlight the benefits of Common Core State Standards at the State Board of Education meeting held February 14, 2014.  Articulate and passionate, Herring well represents Benton Middle School and the UCA College of Education.

Herring supports Common Core through her blog Wisdom from the Middle, which drew the attention of ADE Commissioner Tom Kimbrell, who invited Herring to share her ideas and writings to help ADE work through some of the negative issues that have risen on CCSSs.  The Benton School District School Board honored Herring during their January meeting.  In a letter to Superintendent Jeff Collum, Kimbrell said “The Benton School District is very fortunate to have this young teacher working in your district for the children. I find it inspiring that we do have young teachers tackling the tough issues.”

Jessica honored by Benton Superintendent

Jessica Herring honored by Benton School District Superintendent Jeff Collum at January board meeting.

Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership Promotional Video

Promotional video highlighting the unique Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership program (LEAD) at the University of Central Arkansas.  For more information, visit http://uca.edu/phdleadership.

College of Education Faculty Featured at National Gifted and Talented Conference

aliciacotabishDr. Alicia Cotabish, assistant professor of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and 2013-2015 President of the Arkansas Association of Gifted Education Administrators (AAGEA), recently served as the Keynote Speaker for the 22nd Annual Conference of the Minnesota Educators of the Gifted and Talented in Brainerd, MN. The conference theme, Pump It Up: Differentiate the Common Core, attracted several hundred conference attendees. Dr. Cotabish presented two keynote presentations tied to her recent book release, Using the Next Generation Science Standards with Gifted and Advanced Learners. Both keynote presentations provided strategies in designing and delivering high quality gifted education programs focused on the Common Core English Language Arts and Mathematics and the Next Generation Science Standards.

College of Education Faculty Receive Awards at Instructional Technology Conference

AAIMSeveral College of Education faculty and alumni will be honored at the annual Arkansas Association of Instructional Media (AAIM) Conference Awards Luncheon on Monday, March 31, at the Fort Smith Convention Center.  AAIM is a group of professional educators dedicated to the improvement of education through the use of technology and media. The group hosts a professional development conference each spring providing educators with workshops specific to instructional technology, media usage, and current innovations in library media.  Each year AAIM recognizes the efforts of educators across the state for outstanding achievements in several categories. These recipients are nominated by their peers and chosen by the AAIM Awards committee. Five out of six award recipients this year have strong UCA College of Education ties as faculty or alumni, and the sixth is a UCA graduate who trained in the College of Education leadership program.


Dr. Michael Mills, assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, is to be named michaelmillsTechnology Leader of the Year.  This award is given to an Arkansas educator or technology coordinator who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field of technology through service to students, teachers, and the community in an Arkansas school, a regional service cooperative, an institute of higher learning, or at the state level. Dr. Michael S. Mills holds a BA in English, an MEd in English Education, and an EdD in Educational Leadership. Dr. Mills has presented extensively on multiple literacy enrichment and the practical integration of educational technology with focus on using collaborative tools to better engage students and designing strategies for effectively integrating mobile devices in the classroom.


Dr. Wendy Rickman, assistant professor in the Department of Leadership Studies for both the Library Media & Informationwendyrickman Technologies and the Instructional Technologies graduate programs, has been chosen to receive the Pat McDonald Outstanding Individual Achievement Award.  This honor is awarded to an AAIM member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting media programs and practices that have resulted in an improvement of media usage in instruction.  Dr. Wendy Rickman has over 19 years of teaching experience in P-12 and higher education. Rickman’s work includes collection development practices of school librarians, resource development for diverse populations, and school library programming.


Tracy McAllister, adjunct professor in the Department of Leadership Studies and Library Media Specialist at Bob Courtwaytracymcallister Middle School, who received her MS in Library Media and Information Technologies from UCA, is to be given the Herb Lawrence Leadership Service Award. Mrs. McAllister is a National Board Certified Teacher in School Library Media and presents annually at state, regional, and national conferences.  This award is given to honor an AAIM member who has made significant contribution to AAIM and its progress through outstanding service to the Association. Mrs. McAllister is currently working on her doctorate at the University of Memphis.



Erin Shaw, adjunct faculty in the Department of Teaching and Learning and Library Media Specialist at Greenbrier Middle erinshawSchool, who received her MS in Library Media and Information Technologies from UCA, will be the recipient of the School Library Media Specialist of the Year Award, given for individual excellence in the library/media field through service to students, teachers, and community at the K-12 levels. Mrs. Shaw holds National Board Certification in School Library Media and presents annually at state, regional and national conferences. Mrs. Shaw is currently working on her doctorate at the University of Memphis.



Karen Wells, library media specialist at Midland High School in Pleasant Plains who attained an MS in Library Media and karenwellsInformation Technologies from the UCA College of Education, has been chosen to receive the Outstanding Media Program Award for Midland High School.  This honor is given to a member or members of AAIM who have initiated and/or promoted an outstanding media usage program in a school, a district, an academic institution, public library, or community. Mrs. Wells is National Board Certified Teacher in School Library Media.



Scott Jennings, Beebe High School 11-12 principal, was named Administrator of the Year.  Jennings received his Bachelor of Science degree at UCA and completed 12 hours in the College of Education graduate level school leadership program.


The College of Education is proud of these achievements by faculty and alumni of our programs, and we congratulate the AAIM Award Winners for 2014.  This recognition reinforces the College’s commitment to effective use of technology to enhance teaching and learning processes.

Kappa Delta Pi Learns Job Hunting Strategies at February Meeting

Kappa Delta Pi met Thursday, February 13 to learn job hunting strategies from experts in the field of education. Mrs. Lora Hendrix, administrator for South Conway County School District, and Mr. David Cawein, Vice-president of Green Bay Packaging and former school board president, shared job hunting strategies with members and guests in attendance. Three strategic areas were shared: doing research and preparation before the interview, how to answer questions during the interview, and how to follow-up after the interview. All who attended learned a great deal to help them with their future job search.

Amy Chronis, KDP officer, is practicing an interview question with David Cawein and Lora Hendrix, both from South Conway School District.

Amy Chronis, KDP officer, is practicing an interview question with David Cawein and Lora Hendrix, both from South Conway School District.

Kappa Delta Pi is an international honor society in education. Pi Beta is the chapter on the UCA campus. KDP promotes and encourages teacher leadership for pre-service and practicing teachers. If you are interested in this organization, contact counselors Mara Cawein or Dr. Nancy Gallavan in the Department of Teaching & Learning in Mashburn, College of Education.

Dr. Debbie Dailey Receives AGATE's Challenger Award

Mary Katherine Stein presents Dr. Debbie Dailey with AGATE's Challenger Award during the conference held recently in Hot Springs.  Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education (AGATE) is an independent organization promoting excellence in education, particularly as it relates to gifted and talented children and youth in Arkansas.

Pictured: Debbie Dailey (left); Mary Katherine Stein (right)