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.

National Board Support Site at UCA

Amy Thompson, MAT Program Coordinator and Clinical Instructor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, was recently awarded an $18,000 grant to host a National Board support site. Held on the UCA campus, the National Board support site is for initial candidates, advanced candidates, and renewal candidates. Meeting on Saturdays, teachers from all over the state come together to work towards this prestigious certification.  This year, UCA has the pleasure of hosting 25 initial candidates, 13 advanced candidates, and 12 renewal candidates. Mrs. Marilyn Friga and Mrs. Mara Cawein, Clinical Instructor II’s in the Department of Teaching and Learning, assist with the site.

National Board Certification is the most respected professional certification available in education. It provides numerous benefits to teachers, students, and schools ( More than 100,000 teachers have chosen to pursue National Board Certification.


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Cotabish & Dailey’s New Science Book Makes the National Science Teacher Association’s Recommended Readings List

Drs. Alicia Cotabish and Debbie Dailey’s newly released book, A Teacher’s Guide to Using the Next Generation Science Standards With Gifted and Advanced Learners, has been published on the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Recommends website. The organization provides unsolicited endorsements and candid reviews of newly released science books. The NSTA review enthusiastically describes the book as “…a terrific resource to help science teachers create vigorous and worthwhile learning experiences for their gifted and advanced students.” The full review can be viewed here.

Co-authored with Dr. Cheryll Adams (Professor Emerita at Ball State University) and written as a service publication for the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), the book was released at the national NAGC conference in Baltimore last November. The book is a sequel to the 2014 book, Using the Next Generation Science Standards with Gifted and Advanced Learners, another NAGC service publication penned by Cotabish and colleagues.

Dr. Cotabish is the program coordinator of the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program in the College of Education – Department of Teaching and Learning where she teaches gifted and talented education courses, research methods and science methods to graduate students. Dr. Dailey is program faculty in the GATE program, teaches research methods to graduate students, and directs STEMulate Engineering Academy, a new engineering-focused summer program for elementary students.


Kappa Delta Pi Awards 2014 Fall Recipients

The Pi Beta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the Education Honor Society at the University of Central Arkansas, selected two individuals to receive their 2014 fall semester awards.  The Kappa Delta Pi Awards Committee selected Ms. Breanna Hutchinson to receive the Student Teacher of the Semester Award.  Nominated by her UCA Supervisor, Ms. Debbie Barnes, Breanna completed her student teaching in the first grade at Jim Stone Elementary School in the Conway Public School District.  Breanna’s classroom mentors included Ms. Heather Tollett and Ms. Sarah Moore, both of whom wrote letters of recommendation supporting Breanna’s nomination.  In their letters, Breanna was nominated for her “high expectations for learning” and her ability to “challenge each student through questioning and prompting.”DSC08135

The Kappa Delta Pi Awards Committee selected Ms. Tanya Fitzgerald, fifth-grade math teacher at Bob Courtway Middle School in the Conway Public School District, to receive the Mentor Teacher of the Semester Award.  Nominated by her student teacher, Ms. Cheyenne Wood, Ms. Tanya Fitzgerald was selected for her inspiration and guidance.  Ms. Wood wrote, “Tanya helped transform me into a better educator.”


The Kappa Delta Pi 2014 fall semester awards were given to the recipients at their schools by co-counselors Ms. Mara Cawein and Dr. Nancy P. Gallavan, from the Department of Teaching and Learning (TL).  Dr. Kathleen Atkins, Ms. Debbie Barnes, and Ms. Sue Farris, from the Department of Elementary Education, Literacy, and Special Education (ELSE), also attended the award ceremony for Ms. Hutchinson at Jim Stone Elementary School.  For more information about the Pi Beta Chapter at Kappa Delta Pi, please contact Ms. Mara Cawein at

Beacon Bite Days Held in the College of Education

photo 1College of Education Lighthouse Beacons held their 2014 fall semester Beacon Bite Days during the first week of December.  For two days, Lighthouse Beacons greeted students in the halls with plates of cookies and candy canes as well as copies of the finals week schedule.  Brief conversations also were held to ensure that students had registered for their spring courses.

photoLighthouse Beacons are volunteer College of Education (COE) and Professional Education Unit (PEU) faculty and staff dedicated to providing student support services for all undergraduate and graduate students/candidates enrolled in their COE courses to enhance their academic progress and professional development.  Initiated in 2010, Lighthouse Beacon goals include (1) collaborating with student support services at UCA and in Arkansas communities; (2) enhancing academic understanding, course completion, and program graduate rates of all COE and PEU students; (3) expanding the number and professionalism of educators produce by UCA so the educator population is more inclusive of all people; and (4) building stronger bridges with educators in all capacities across the state of Arkansas.  Lighthouse Beacons have metal welcome signs with a lighthouse illuminating the horizon hanging next to their doors.  For more information about the Lighthouse Beacons, please contact Dr. Nancy P. Gallavan at 501.450.5497 or

NCTE Presentation – Augmented Reality

NCTE logoUCA Associate Professor, Donna Wake, and second year Benton School District teacher, Amy Dibble, presented recently at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual conference in Washington, D.C. The conference drew over 5000 attendees and hosted over 600 sessions from 2000 submitted proposals.

IMG_2658Wake and Dibble presented a project entitled Using Augmented Reality to Write the Story of Science Fiction. The project was enacted in Benton Middle School in May 2014. The middle school students in the project co-authored and co-illustrated a group narrative based on their study of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. They then used their narrative and visuals to shoot a paper-slide video which they linked to a new technology tool called Aurasma. The Aurasma app recognizes a trigger image (the cover page of the project illustration sequence) and then directs the mobile device to related, interactive content. In this case, the content was the paper slide video authored and narrated by the students.