This fall, the College of Education Lighthouse Beacons celebrated Beacon Bite Days on December 3 and 4. Volunteer faculty and staff brought cookies, aka Beacon Bites, and gave them to students as they passed between classes. Students also were offered copies of the fall final examination schedule and bookmarks with information about the Lighthouse Beacons. Lighthouse Beacons were available to talk with students about their progress at UCA, answer questions about UCA and the College of Education, advise students with their programs of study, and ask students if they have registered for the upcoming semester. Initiated in 2010, the Lighthouse Beacons are College of Education faculty and staff who volunteer to (1) collaborate with students support serves at UCA and in Arkansas communities; (2) enhance academic understanding, course completion, and program graduation rates of all students; (3) expand the number and professional of educations produced by UCA so the educator population is more inclusive and reflective of all people; and (4) build stronger bridges with educators in all capacities across Arkansas. Currently, two events highlight the Lighthouse Beacon outreach: Beacon Bite Days scheduled every semester the week before finals and the Diversity Teacher Candidate Reception held every spring as an opportunity for teacher candidates to meet with faculty to hear about possible programs and available services. Brilliant teachers light, ignite, and excite learning in others; shine on. For more information about the College of Education Lighthouse Beacons, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2013 Arkansas Curriculum Conference, held in October at the Little Rock Marriott Hotel and Statehouse Convention Center, benefitted from the leadership and scholarship of many UCA College of Education faculty. Leadership from the UCA College of Education included Dr. Donna Wake, Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, as President of the Arkansas Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (ACTELA); Dr. Nancy P. Gallavan, Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, as Board Member of the Arkansas Council for the Social Studies (ACSS) and Board Member of the Arkansas Geographic Alliance (AGA); and Dr. Jeff Whittingham, Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, as the ACTELA Co-chair of the ACC Membership Committee; Dr. Mary Ellen Oslick, Assistant Professor, Department of Early Childhood/Special Education, as the ACTELA Co-chair of the ACC Presiders Committee; Drs. Wake and Oslick as Co-chairs of the ACC Program Committee; Dr. Whittingham as the ACTELA Co-chair of the ACC Publicity Committee; and Ms. Chris Hogan, Instructor, Department of Teaching and Learning, as Co-Chair of the ACC Registration Committee.
Supporting the theme of “Preparing the Next Generation,” the following sessions were presented by UCA College of Education faculty:
Ms. Audie Alumbaugh, Instructor; Dr. Gary Bunn, Assistant Professor; Dr. Alicia Cotabish, Assistant Professor; and Dr. Debbie Daily; Instructor; Department of Teaching and Learning: A Differentiated Approach to Addressing the CCSS (Math) and NGSS
Dr. Tammy Benson, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning: Dr. Mary Ellen Oslick: Common Core, Social Justice, and Quality Literature: A Perfect Match!
Dee Dee Cain, Clinical Instructor with the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, was the recipient of the Orlan “Jack” Morgan Award at the Arkansas Council for Exceptional Children’s annual conference. This award was established for the purpose of recognizing individuals whose occupational skills are utilized to serve or promote the welfare of persons with disabilities. Ms. Cain is a passionate advocate for school-aged children and a dedicated and engaging teacher education faculty member.
Dr. Shoudong Feng has been named 2013 English Teacher of the Year for College Education by the Arkansas Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (ACTELA). An affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), ACTELA is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to celebrating and improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.
Since 2004, outstanding English and Language Arts teachers have been identified and honored annually by ACTELA. Judging is conducted by a panel of ACTELA Board members. The panel considers the nominees’ lifelong teaching, professionalism, and service, with emphasis on recent achievements.
Feng, an associate professor at the University of Central Arkansas, coordinates the Graduate Reading Program in the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education.
Feng’s award was presented at the ACTELA Fall Luncheon in October at Little Rock’s Marriott (formerly the Peabody) Hotel. Feng spoke to over 100 teachers at the luncheon, which is held during the annual Arkansas Curriculum Conference. ACTELA honored Feng with a Barnes & Noble gift card and an engraved clock.
LEAD student’s film to focus on Guy/Greenbrier Earthquake Swarm
CONWAY, November 12, 2013 – Interdisciplinary Leadership PhD student, Emily Lane, will be debuting her documentary film series, Land of Opportunity, in Little Rock on Friday, November 22 at 7 p.m. at Market Street Cinema. The series focuses on the impact that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has on local communities in the Fayetteville Shale in north, central Arkansas. Roughly 4,500 natural gas wells have been drilled since 2005 in the rural, 5-county area.
The first film in the series will introduce the local filmmakers and highlight the link between the fracking process and the Guy/Greenbrier Earthquake Swarm, a rash of 1300+ tremors in northern Faulkner County that began in late 2010 and culminated in a 4.7 magnitude earthquake in early 2011. The film explains what triggered the earthquakes, how state officials handled the situation, and what they knew from the beginning. The inaugural documentary also introduces other subjects such as environmental contamination, property rights, and conflicts of interest.
Co-creator of the film, Emily Lane, expands on the theme of the series, “Arkansas has historically promoted short-term economic gain over economic and environmental sustainability. We live under the boom-and-bust mentality, and consequently have seen some profit while others suffer. Residents across the state are increasingly battling against the negative impacts of misguided ‘opportunity.’ We can do better.”
Doors open by 6:30 p.m. The screening will be followed by a Q & A session that will feature affected residents from the shale area. Educational materials will also be available to patrons. For
more information, go to http://www.arkansasfracking.org/Land-of-Opportunity.html.
Emily Lane – Research Graduate Assistant, LEAD Program
Mr. Adam Hicks, a UCA MAT internship student, was recently recognized by the Little Rock Family Magazine as one of its Amazing Educators. The award includes a $1000 cash award for outstanding educators in Arkansas. Mr. Hicks currently teaches AP Chemistry at Robinson High School in Pulaski County Special School District. Pictured here Mr. Hicks is recognizing receiving his $1000 cash award.
Dr. Deborah Dailey from the College of Education was awarded the Herbert M. Handley Outstanding Dissertation Award at the Mid-South Educational Research Association’s (MSERA) annual conference in early November 2013. For the award, Dr. Dailey received a plaque and a $250 cash award. Dr. Dailey’s dissertation, The Effects of a STEM Intervention on Elementary Teachers, was also presented in a paper session at the conference. Teaching and Learning Department Chair Tammy Benson indicated, “I heard the presentation of Debbie's dissertation and it is very impressive.” Each year, MSERA sponsors the Herbert M. Handley Outstanding Dissertation/Thesis Award. Any current member of MSERA who has completed a dissertation or thesis (in the current year) within the member states of MSERA may submit their dissertation abstract for award consideration. In addition, the abstract from the winning dissertation is recognized on the MSERA web site and in the MSERA Educational Researcher publication. Dr. Dailey is currently serving as a faculty member in the Department of Teaching and Learning and earned her doctoral degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
On November 14, 2013 Teachers United student organization sponsored a bake sale to raise money to support Theodore Jones Elementary school's Boost for Backpacks program in Conway, Arkansas. The backpack program assists students get healthy nutrition after school hours. Thanks to the customers, the UCA Teachers United members, the College of Education’s Teaching and Learning Department, and sponsors Marilyn Friga and Angela Greenland for their efforts in meeting the needs of a local partnership school. Also, thanks to the generous anonymous donors that matched the raised bake sale funds.
(Submitted by Crystal Voegele, Teaching and Learning, Clinical Instructor)
Most Faulkner county residents have heard of Soaring Wings Ranch and the phenomenal, inspiring lengths that they go to support foster children here in central Arkansas. The ranch is a residential facility that is Christ-centered and serves children who have been abused, orphaned, abandoned, neglected, or in need of a family. With so many children, Soaring Wings Ranch could use some extra ranch-hands, especially when it comes to educating these children, and that is where the College of Education heeded the call, forming an official partnership.
According to the educational specialist for Soaring Wings Ranch, Julia Groce, “This partnership is unique because it is mutually beneficial for all involved! Soaring Wings Ranch (SWR) and Greenbrier students benefit by receiving one-on-one personalized educational support, something that is hard to come by during the school day. For SWR students this is especially helpful, as there are up to seven other children that need homework assistance in their homes after school. UCA education candidates benefit from having the experience of looking at students in a very personal way. As a teacher it is easy to look at students as a group, but a teacher must learn to focus on the individual learner to maximize educational impact. UCA students are rising to this occasion by arriving to tutoring prepared with extensive materials including educational applications for mobile devices and engaging educational support materials. UCA students are not only helping directly with academic content knowledge, but also assisting students with organizational and study skills that lead to academic success. UCA students are able to provide tutoring services to our children that would cost SWR thousands of dollars if we were to hire private tutors.”
Greenbrier Public Schools graciously agreed to host all tutoring sessions and provide a mentor for each site where students are served. Due to the professionalism of UCA students and the success of this initiative, Greenbrier has also allowed additional students to join the SWR tutoring sessions. As this partnership continues to grow, so do the children of SWR.
This past weekend, SWR hosted its half marathon in Conway, which boasted over 2,000 participants and hundreds of volunteers. Each runner received a metallic medal in the shape of expanded wings with the engraved message, “Giving Children a Chance to Soar.” UCA teacher education candidates do this every day they serve in such a needed capacity!
The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) College of Education and the Faulkner County Retired Teachers Association (FCRTA) recently collaborated to provide mock interviews for its fall 2013 Internship II students. The students are spending the last semester of their undergraduate college careers student teaching in the public schools and are ready to begin searching for teaching jobs.
To help these students prepare for job interviews, the students spent 10-15 minutes one-on-one with retired teachers in a simulated interview. After the interview, the interviewer gave pointers and immediate written feedback to each student. Students were encouraged by the comments and felt better prepared for an actual interview. One of the UCA students, Barrett Parten, remarked, “I thought the mock interviews were so very beneficial for my growth as a future teacher. It was great hearing an experienced individual give me advice on how to word my answers and to pay closer attention to detail. I feel like because of these interviews, and the advice of my interviewer, I am better prepared for future job interviews!”
Because of this ongoing collaborative partnership with UCA, the FCRTA has been honored on a state level with the “2011 Outstanding Youth Service Project” award by the Arkansas Retired Teachers Association. This project serves as a model for other chapters throughout the state. According to Sharon Rapp, FCRTA member, “It is both rewarding and enjoyable for members of our unit of retired teachers to conduct the mock interviews. This partnership with the College of Education allows each of us to play a small mentoring role in the preparation of the next generation of young teachers.”
Dr. Diana Pounder, Dean of the College of Education, said, “The College of Education is extremely proud to have such an active, committed group of former teachers as advocates for its students and programs with this win-win collaboration which began in 2011.”