The UCA College of Education held its eighth annual Teacher Pinning Ceremony on Friday, May 2, 2014, to honor candidates who are becoming teachers. Graduates from December 2013 and May 2014 were honored along with Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) candidates. Two hundred sixty-one candidates graduated with teaching degrees in these two semesters.
The 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 are 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. A slideshow of the candidates teaching during their internship makes the ceremony personal, and many past honorees have said that this event is as deeply meaningful to them as commencement.
Keynote speaker Ms. Trinina Pouncy, a teacher at Ruth Doyle Middle School and Conway School District’s 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year, gave a moving speech that brought the audience of graduates, family, friends, and faculty to its feet. Her philosophy of teaching is, “Failure is not an option.” Ms. Pouncy emphasized to the teacher candidates what an impact their words and actions will have on students and to never forget the impact they will be having on young people during their teaching careers. Ms. Pouncy received her bachelor’s degree in Middle Level Education from the University of Central Arkansas.
A reception was held afterward in the Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center on the UCA campus. Students and their families met and visited with UCA teacher education faculty and staff. Carlaskio Smith, May 2014 Early Childhood Education graduate and one of the teacher candidates honored, commented, “Wow! What a great end to an outstanding semester. After Ms. Pouncy’s speech, I left Reynolds Performance Hall ready to be the great teacher that the UCA College of Education has prepared me to be. The entire pinning ceremony was very moving.”
Dr. Diana Pounder, Dean of the College of Education, expressed her pride in the undergraduate and graduate students completing their initial teacher degree/licensure program. “We have lots of evidence that UCA teacher education graduates are among the best in the state and we repeatedly get feedback from school districts that our graduates are highly sought after.”
The UCA College of Education is pleased to announce that Amanda Threlkeld and Theresa Thompson have been awarded the Gladys Sachse Endowed Scholarship for the 2014-2015 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 Technology (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.
Dr. Jud Copeland, associate professor in Leadership Studies, developed the scholarship award in 2007 and was able to meet personally with Gladys Sachse at Salem Rehabilitation Center before she passed away in 2009. She expressed a great interest in promoting the endowed scholarship to help students in the Library Media program. Dr. Copeland states, “What I would like to do is to promote Ms. Sachse’s endowed award with membership in both the Arkansas Library Association and the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media. I think this is a real link to our profession and it would stimulate award winners’ participation in our organizations.” As an extra added incentive this year, Dr. Copeland will pay for the award winners’ first year of ArLA and AAIM membership, saying “I feel that Miss Sachse would approve.”
Amanda Threlkeld’s stated goal is to help students improve their research and digital literacy. In her role as a library media specialist, she plans to share her knowledge, training, and creativity from the LIBM program with other teachers and students.
Theresa Thompson plans to make the library the heart of the school for all teachers, students, and parents & to foster a love of reading through storytelling and conversations about new literature to pique students' interests.
Congratulations and continued success to these accomplished students as they contribute to our mission in the College of Education.
Graduate Assistant Lydia Pendleton of the College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) program in the UCA Leadership Studies department, recently presented at the annual American College Personnel Association (ACPA) College Student Educators International Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pendleton and her internship colleagues from Arkansas State University –Beebe presented The Bigger Picture: Enhancing Graduate Internship for Students and Institutions, regarding their unique internship experiences. The presentation was focused on improving the internship experience for students and institutions. A few of the recommendations for students were to articulate the experiences that they are hoping to get from the internship to their site supervisor, step out of their comfort zone and explore different things, and to fully commit to the experience. Recommendations for institutions included creating structured seminars for students and providing students with worthwhile projects that can be completed during the internship and which can be implemented on that campus. Institutions are advised to expose students to as many functional areas and academic partners on campus as possible so that they gain a broader view of how institutions function and how each department is interconnected. Pendleton reports, “The end result of such internships is that students will gain valuable experiences, learn new skillsets, and have tangible evidence of their work which ultimately prepares them for professional careers. The end result for institutions is that they get to invest in the lives of students, they contribute to the advancement of higher education, and they have a project or program that they can implement on their campus.”
The 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.
Congratulations 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.
Dr. 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.
Dr. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jessica 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.”