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.


UCA’s College of Education is pleased to announce its ninth annual Pinning Ceremony to recognize and honor its teacher education graduates of academic year 2014-15.  Undergraduate and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) graduates will be recognized, as well as College of Education faculty and student award recipients.

The ceremony is scheduled for Friday, May 1, 6:00pm in Reynold’s Auditorium on UCA’s campus.  This year’s invited speaker is Dr. Diana Pounder, retiring College of Education Dean.  A reception will follow in the adjacent Brewer-Hageman Conference Center.  UCA teacher education graduates, their family and friends, faculty, staff, mentor teachers, university supervisors, alumni and other guests are cordially invited to share in the celebration.

The 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.

CSPA Student Named Bob Hess Outstanding Graduate Student

imageCongratulations to Adam Iserman, a graduate student in the College Student Personnel Services and Administration (CSPA) program in the Department of Leadership Studies (College of Education).  Adam won the Bob Huss Outstanding Graduate Student Award at the 2015 annual Southwest Association of College and University Housing Officers (SWACUHO) meeting in Oklahoma City, OK.

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 currently living in a residence hall, and have contributed significantly to residence hall living and to the university community on their campus.

Adam earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a B.A. in Middle/Secondary Social Science Education (History emphasis) and a minor in Psychology. He was involved with Residence Life as a Resident Hall Association Representative and Resident Assistant.  In addition, Adam was active in his Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, Students Promoting Respect, National Residence Hall Honorary, UWP Golf Club, and advised students through the First Year Experience Office. Currently, Adam is the Student Conduct Coordinator for the UCA Housing and Residence Life department.  He is completing his master’s thesis by investigating the relationship between resident assistants and residents.

This is the second year in a row that the University of Central Arkansas’ CSPA program brought home the award.  The 2014 recipient was Amanda Kuster, who is now a Resident Life Coordinator at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Adam will graduate in May with his master’s in College Student Personnel Services and Administration.

PhD Leadership Graduate Selected for Presidential Leadership Scholars Program

GOODMAN-0013Dr. Hunter Phillips Goodman, graduate of UCA’s Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Leadership, has been selected to be a member of the inaugural class of Presidential Leadership Scholars, a unique leadership development initiative that draws upon the resources of the U.S. presidential centers of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush. These presidential centers have partnered to bring together a select group of leaders who have the desire and capacity to take their leadership strengths to a higher level in order to help their communities and our country.

Sixty scholars from a variety of sectors – private, public, non-profit, military, and academia – were invited to participate in this year’s cohort, which will begin a 6-month, executive-education series at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, in late February. Over the course of the program, scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from former presidents, key administration officials, and leading academics to learn and put into practice varying approaches to leadership, develop a network of peers, and exchange ideas with mentors and others who can help them make an impact in their communities.

The program is non-degree bearing, and entails approximately 100 hours of informative sessions and case studies, and covers expansive approaches to leadership theory, drawing upon examples from recent presidents. The curriculum draws from presidential center archives and resources related to leadership moments from each administration. It includes insights from how each president addressed pressing challenges and benefits from the participation of President George W. Bush and President William J. Clinton. It also relies upon in-depth analyses of how leaders across all sectors address similar types of challenges.

Dr. Goodman serves as the UCA Division of Advancement’s Executive Director of Development at the University of Central Arkansas. Hunter is a proud alumna of the Bonner Scholars Program, Leadership Arkansas, University of Southern Mississippi Master of Education program, Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and Bayside Academy in Daphne, Alabama.