Edcamp Arkansas, Second Annual Event

edcampArkansas Logo (Official)The second annual Edcamp Arkansas is scheduled to be held on Saturday, September 27, 2014 on the University of Central Arkansas campus. Last year, over sixty participants attended the all day event and included teachers and administrators from across the state as well as college and university personnel and pre-service and in-service teachers. The event will begin at 8:30am with registration and session creation.

The Edcamp model provides one recent and increasingly popular approach to providing relevant and responsive professional development. An Edcamp is often referred to as an “unconference” in that no pre-set agenda exists. Instead the content and sessions of the Edcamp day relies solely on the participants with common foci being technology, pedagogy, and current issues and trends.

Participants of an Edcamp engage in an ad-hoc community structure as they are called upon to lead or take part in conversations they define. If a participant feels their needs are not being met, they are welcome to join another session on their own initiative. The underpinning philosophy of Edcamp is that the agenda that emerges the day of the camp is the only agenda that could have happened and is therefore the right agenda for those who attended (Boule, 2011).

The first Edcamp was held in May 2010 in Philadelphia, and over 200 Edcamps have been held since that inception. The vision of the Edcamp Foundation is to “promote organic, participant-driven professional development for K-12 educators worldwide” (Edcamp Foundation, 2012).

Edcamps possess certain shared attributes. They are free to all participants. There is no vendor or commercial presence, although Edcamps can seek sponsorship. Edcamps can be hosted by anyone interested in the Edcamp vision and mission. The sessions are determined the day of the event and do not have to take the form of formal presentations. Edcamps are reliant on the “law of two feet” where participants are able to change sessions as they wish. Social media (i.e., blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook) can be used to continue the work started the day of the camp (Edcamp Foundation, 2012). Additionally, technology is a presence at the camp in the form of interactive connectivity and presentations (i.e., backchannels, twitter, polling sites, video rooms).

For more information, please visit

First Annual Edcamp Arkansas - October 2013

First Annual Edcamp Arkansas – October 2013

College of Education Faculty Named to National Leadership Positions

aliciacotabishDr. Alicia Cotabish, assistant professor of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education, has been appointed to a 3-year term on the highly selective Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards Committee.  The Nominating Committee reviewed over 300 applications, granting only 25 applicants this unprecedented opportunity to truly shape CAEP as the new accrediting body for education preparation.

CAEP’s mission is to advance excellence in educator preparation through evidence-based accreditation that assures quality and supports continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 student learning.  More than 900 educator preparation providers participate in the CAEP accreditation system.  Educator preparation providers include traditional institutions of higher education, as well as alternative pathways such as residency programs.

Dr. Cotabish also serves as 2013-2015 President of the Arkansas Association of Gifted Education Administrators (AAGEA) and as the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Specialized Professional Association (SPA) representative for CAEP.  Beginning in the fall of 2015, CAEP will have a new process in place along with revised national standards for the elementary level. Dr. Cotabish along with Susan Johnsen (Baylor University), Jennifer Jolly (Louisiana State University), and Ann Robinson (University of Arkansas at Little Rock) will be authoring a companion NAGC CAEP SPA book to guide universities through NAGC/CEC SPA accreditation. Sample assessments, accreditation criteria, and best practices will be included.  The College of Education is honored to have our distinguished faculty shape the national landscape in CAEP Spa Accreditation and in the field of gifted education.


College of Education Hosts ‘Book Hack’ Workshop

IMG_4496The Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Central Arkansas, along with the Arkansas iTunes U initiative, hosted a three-day training in multi-touch digital textbook authorship on July 7-9.  Described as a “book hacking” opportunity, this training gave participants an opportunity to create dynamic, engaging multi-touch digital books that incorporate a variety of rich, interactive resources using the free iBooks Author software available on Mac computers.

Book Hack participants learned how to cultivate open educational resources and were trained in proper applications of the TEACH Act, Fair Use, and Creative Commons licensing. Attendees also learned how to apply digital book layout principles and, through on-site instruction as well as video conferencing with two developers, one in Wales, England, and the other in Brussels, Belgium, design interactive widgets to facilitate a multimodal book reading experience.

IMG_4511At the culmination of the training, participants shared their interactive multi-touch books with others and were invited to join a worldwide community of multi-touch book authors in the iBA Collaborative Google+ community forum.  Participants commented that Dr. Michael Mills and other UCA teacher education faculty are clearly leaders in effectively promoting and utilizing technology to enhance teaching and learning.

Featured trainers included Dr. Michael S. Mills, assistant professor, University of Central Arkansas; Anthony DiLaura, math teacher, Zeeland Public Schools in Zeeland, Michigan; and Shelley Dirst, Director of the Arkansas iTunes U initiative. The training also was facilitated by Jennifer Kimbrell, educational consultant; and David Nance, Spanish instructor at Virtual Arkansas.


Leadership Studies Holds Orientation for New Students

LS Orientation

Dr. Terry James, Professor and Chair of Leadership Studies, speaks to new students during orientation held on May 31, 2014.

Over 50 students attended the Department of Leadership Studies Orientation for New Students held Saturday, May 31, 2014.  These students are pursuing degrees in one of the following areas: Instructional Technology, Library Media and Information Technology, School Counseling, School Leadership, Management, and Administration, or the Educational Specialist Program in Leadership.

Instructional Technology (ITEC) is a degree program designed for individuals who desire a technology leadership position within their professional arenas (e.g., education, business, nonprofit organizations).

Library Media and Information Technology (LIBM) is a degree and licensure program designed for individuals who desire a school library media position in P-12 schools.  Candidates are required to hold a valid teaching license.  LIBM licensure is contingent upon successful completion of the program and meeting the minimum score on the state mandated examination (PRAXIS II).  The LIBM program is nationally accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

School Counseling, School Leadership, Management and Administration (SLMA), and Education Specialist in Leadership (EDLP) are degree and licensure programs designed for individuals who desire leadership positions in P-12 schools.  Candidates are required to hold a valid teacher’s license.  Licensure is contingent upon successful completion of the program and meeting the minimum scores on state mandated examinations.  The school counseling program is a P-12 licensure program.  The SLMA and EDLP programs are nationally accredited by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council.  In addition to the MS degree for the SLMA program, individuals with an appropriate master’s degree may pursue Arkansas licensure for building administrator, curriculum administrator, and program administrator through a program of study.

Please contact the Leadership Studies department (501-450-3282) for details on these programs.

College Student Personnel Administration Students Visit China

Sixteen UCA College Student Personnel Services and Administration (CSPA) graduate students and their faculty leaders, Assistant Professor Dr. Lawrence Mrozek and Associate Professor Dr. Rhonda McClellan of the College of Education Leadership Studies department, took a 15-day study tour to China, May 12–27, 2014, to focus on gaining an understanding of higher education and student affairs in China.


CSPA Students and Mentor Faculty Ready for Flight to China

The graduate students spent eight days at Qingdao University, in the city of Qingdao, on the coast of China, immersed in a class that addresses literature and issues on multiculturalism, diversity, and social justice in higher education settings in the U.S. and other countries.  The mornings involved lectures, tours and discussions about student affairs services and higher education in China, focusing on topics such as Higher Education in China, Student Affairs Services at QU, Residence Life, Freshman Services, Psychological Services, etc.  On the last day, students from the UCA CSPA program gave presentations about student services at UCA, with a focus on Residential Colleges, Student Conduct, Student Life, and Greek Life.  After the Q&A, there were focus group discussions with QU administrators and students and UCA students.


Q&A with QU Dean of College of Education

Afternoons included visits to Qingdao landmarks, a primary school (Qingdao Yan Er Dao Rd Primary School), and an all-day climb of Mt. Laoshan, which is the tallest mountain on the coast of China at 1,132 meters.  Mt. Laoshan is also considered one of the birthplaces of Taoism; many of the students also visited the Temple of Great Purity on the mountain.


Visiting with Qingdao Yan Er Dao Rd Primary Students During Recess

After the visit to Qingdao University, the students spent four days in Beijing to see many of the cultural and historical landmarks of Beijing, including the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, and the Beijing Panda Zoo.


CSPA Graduate Students at the Great Wall

Visit our Facebook page to view more photos from the trip!

PhD in Leadership Studies program boasts three UCA Service-Learning Award winners

At UCA’s inaugural service-learning awards ceremony in April, three of six awards were given to students in the Interdisciplinary PhD Leadership Studies program in the College of Education to recognize their exemplary commitment to and excellence in service-learning and civic engagement. The “Service-Learning Champion” award was given for development of the program.

BallaMariama Laouali Balla, a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary PhD Leadership Studies program, was awarded the “Spirit of Humanity” award for her work with the field-based service-learning Women’s Foundation of Arkansas project, her work in cultural diversity on college and elementary school levels, and the research report of the economics of educating Arkansas women. The project is investigating the benefits of an education and how educational attainment can positively influence the economic landscape of Arkansas. Mariama’s long-term goal is to help address existing and emerging inequalities and concerns among family and community around the world through research and scholarship. Leadership associate professor Dr. Rhonda McClellan said of Balla, “Mariama epitomizes the spirit of humanity.”

BullingtonTimothy Bullington, a second-year student in the Interdisciplinary PhD Leadership Studies program, received the    “Exceptional Achievement in Service-Learning” award for his work with the with the Stuttgart and Conway Chambers of Commerce on projects to address quality of life and leadership issues in communities. He helped produce Conway’s new master plan and assisted with an investigation of how community development decisions affect the draw and retention of college graduates by providing community leaders a social network analysis – a statistical mapping of how people interact and how these interactions relate to the strength of democratic participation. Tim along with faculty and students presented this study at the International Leadership Association research conference in Montreal, Canada, where it received praise from international scholars. Associate Professor Dr. Rhonda McClellan states, “Tim is a public servant.  His scholarly passions and skills serve the common good and are dedicated to making Arkansas a better place for all Arkansans.”

GoodmanDr. Hunter Phillips Goodman, first graduate of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership Studies program at UCA, received the “Champion of Service-Learning” award for her work with faculty, staff, and administration to build the comprehensive service-learning program and faculty fellows’ development model. Through her doctoral research Hunter explores the role of university leadership in civic engagement within private liberal arts institutions. Nationally, she serves as chairperson of the IMPACT National Student Conference on Service, Action, and Advocacy board of directors.  “The PhD Leadership program at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) has helped me explore and connect my practical experience as a leader in the nonprofit and higher education arenas with theory and research,” said Goodman.  “It has deepened my theoretical understanding and in turn practical application of leadership.


“I am proud of the service work that these PhD students have done under the leadership of Dr. Rhonda McClellan, PhD Leadership Program Director.  Given the mission of the program, these awards verify that the PhD program is effective in attracting and developing ‘servant-leaders’ for public sector and not-for-profit organizations.”  Dean Pounder

Award winners pose with their professor. (L-R) Dr. Hunter Phillips Goodman, Timothy Bullington, associate professor Dr. Rhonda McClellan, and Mariama Laouali Balla.

Award winners pose with their professor. (L-R) Dr. Hunter Phillips Goodman, Timothy Bullington, associate professor Dr. Rhonda McClellan, and Mariama Laouali Balla.


Education Professors Awarded ADHE Grant for STEM Professional Development


Dr. Umadevi Garimella

Dr. Umadevi Garimella, director of the UCA STEM Institute, and Dr. Haihong (Helen) Hu, assistant professor of instructional technology in the College of Education Department of Leadership Studies, co-authored a $68,772 grant awarded to the UCA STEM Institute by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE).  The grant entitled “Beginner Robotics for STEM teaching: Grades 6-8” will support professional development training in basic robotic engineering for grade 6-8 STEM teachers.


Dr. Haihong (Helen) Hu

UCA STEM Institute is collaborating with University of Pine Bluff STEM Center to offer training to grades 6-8 STEM teachers in North Little Rock and Conway School Districts. The goals of the professional development program is to use basic robotics to strengthen teachers’ content knowledge in STEM areas, improve teachers’ ability to develop and implement STEM integrated 5E lessons with robotic engineering activities, model “best practices” pedagogy, and provide participants with classroom materials and training for hands-on math/science/engineering activities. Each teacher participating will receive more than 60 hours of training, a maximum stipend of $1,500, $200 worth of teaching materials and long term support from UCA faculty.  The project will begin this summer.


Cataloging Class Shows Student Commitment

Dr. Jud Copeland, Associate Professor of Library Media in the College of Education Leadership Studies Department is proud of the diligence shown by his students in pursuing their degree.  The LIBM 6332 Cataloging and Classification class met in Torreyson Library throughout Spring Break to work on their respective group presentations for an upcoming Blackboard session.  “I meet with my students in the library and this is a really rewarding experience,” Copeland said.  “I think this reflects the dedication and commitment that our students have for our programs.”

Cataloguing Class

LIBM Graduate Cataloging & Classification Class working on an investigation assignment in Torreyson Library during Spring Break March 25, 2014. The group includes (Arc L-R) Vicky Booth, Torrey McNully, Britney Jumper, and Jana McCollum with associate professor Dr. Jud Copeland seated center.

May 2014 LIBM Graduates

The College of Education congratulates all of its graduates.  Associate Professor, Dr. Jud Copeland, shared this photo after portfolio presentations on a late April Saturday, stating “We are very proud of them.”

LIBM May Graduates

University of Central Arkansas LIBM Graduation Class of May 2014
The next generation of Library Media Specialists are ready to meet the challenges of library services in Arkansas!

UCA College of Education 2013-14 Faculty Excellence Awards

The College of Education annually confers faculty awards designed to encourage and reward excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, and service.  The awards provide recognition of the importance the college places on these fundamental areas, publicize the vitality of faculty efforts in these areas and reward faculty who have excelled in their contributions to the university, their disciplines and other communities.  The following faculty members were honored May 2, 2014, in the College of Education.


frigaMrs. Marilyn A.K. Friga, Clinical Instructor II in the Department of Teaching and Learning, received the COE Teaching Excellence Award for consistently demonstrating exceptional performance in teaching.  Mrs. Friga is a National Board Certified Teacher in History for Young Adolescents and Young Adults and has been employed by the college for seven years.  Recipients of this award strive to enhance student learning as they continually seek ways to improve their teaching and the impact that has on student learning.  Mrs. Friga is a previous Service Award winner of the College and was a nominee for Teaching Excellence at the University level in 2014.  Dr. Tammy Benson, Chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning, states, “Mrs. Friga seems to go beyond what is required to help her students be successful, both in her courses and her supervision of interns.”


moslick-210x278Dr. Mary Ellen Oslick, Assistant Professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, received the COE Research and Scholarship Award, which recognizes individuals whose research and scholarship have expanded human knowledge and contributed to advancing their discipline.  Since joining the department in 2011, Dr. Oslick has been consistently active in scholarly activities as evidenced by her publication rate, grant submissions, and presentations at the state, regional, national, and international levels.  Her research in areas such as social justice, literacy, and multiculturalism is widely distributed and recognized by others in her field.  Dr. Oslick’s article, Children’s Voices: Reactions to a Criminal Justice Issue Picture Book, was selected as the recipient of the 2014 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award.  Dr. Kathleen Atkins, Chair of the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, remarked, “Given her productivity and quality of scholarship, Dr. Oslick is most deserving of this award.”


deedeecMrs. DeeDee Cain, Clinical Instructor in the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, received a COE Service Award for her many contributions ranging from university to statewide service.  For many years she has given her time and energy as faculty advisor to the UCA Student Council for Exceptional Children chapter in an effort to impact the development of COE teacher candidates into dedicated professionals.  More recently her work to promote the education and service of students with dyslexia in the state of Arkansas has rendered profound results as evidenced by a new state law supporting these students.  ECSE department chair Dr. Kathleen Atkins said, “DeeDee Cain is a passionate individual, driven to have a positive impact on future teachers and the students of Arkansas and is therefore most deserving of this award.”


dwakeDr. Donna Wake, Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, received a COE Service Award for three major accomplishments that impacted the college and community in a very positive way this year:  coordination of the MAT program, implementation of the BearsWrite summer writing program for children, and service as president of the Arkansas Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (ACTELA).  Beyond coordinating the MAT program, advising and recruiting students, revising the MAT webpage, and managing program initiatives, Wake led the process to revise key assessments with the inclusion of the new Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS) as well as other state initiatives.  The Bearswrite Summer Writing Camp brought 30 middle school students on campus to improve their writing skills and increase their knowledge of technology, and drew praise for the degree of service it provided the community. As ACTELA president, Wake was instrumental in the success of the Arkansas Curriculum Conference, which brought hundreds of teachers to Little Rock for professional development.  Dr. Wake was the creator and co-chair of EdCamp, an innovative professional development concept that positively affected over 80 attending teachers and faculty from UCA.  She is also a consultant for Pre-K Early Literacy in Arkansas which positively impacts preschool teachers across the state.  Department of Teaching and Learning Chair Dr. Tammy Benson remarked, “Dr. Wake does an excellent job with teaching, research, and providing the kind of meaningful service that can improve education in Arkansas. Her passion for teaching and improving the lives of children in our state guide her impressive service record.”