Mashburn Center for Learning
University of Central Arkansas
College of Education
Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education
(formerly Department of Early Childhood and Special Education)
Nationally, 27 percent of the population age 25 and older has a four-year degree. In Arkansas, the rate is 18.7 percent, the lowest in the nation. Among developed nations, the college graduation rate is 55 percent. The high school dropout rate in Arkansas constitutes a crisis. In Arkansas’ two-year and four-year institutions, remediation rates are approximately 56.1% and 28.6% respectively for first-year students. The cost of remediation in Arkansas was $53.8 million in 2006. Approximately 136,074 children and adolescents under the age of 18 in Arkansas are estimated to have a diagnosable mental health disorder. There is a critical need for leadership among state universities to close the achievement gap between learners failing or falling far behind and learners excelling within the public schools. Equally undeniable, there is a need to substantially reduce remediation among two-year and four-year students as well as eliminate a high percentage of mental health challenges that impair academic achievement and school success.
The University of Central Arkansas’ Mashburn Center for Learning strives to become a beacon of hope for struggling learners from early childhood through college age students in the state of Arkansas. At the present time, UCA’s Mashburn Center for Learning works in close partnership with the ADE to use research-validated methodologies for teachers and students in school districts across Arkansas. This professional development intervention is designed to prepare teachers and students to maximize academic success. However, an insufficiency of funding support prevents a full-scale effort necessary to combat the very pervasive, full-scale crises. Subsequently, the University of Central Arkansas’ Mashburn Center for Learning proposes the following strategic initiatives for developing a center designed to be a statewide beacon of hope for struggling learners. Of course, a full-scale effort cannot be limited to the partnership between the university and the ADE. It must also include legislators, policy-makers, civic leaders, school district educators, family stakeholders, and the business community. The vision and mission of UCA’s Mashburn Center for Learning can help meet this statewide-crises with additional funding support.
Vision: We share the dream that every Arkansas institution will have all educators trained in research-validated methodologies designed to help academically struggling learners.
Mission Statement: The Mashburn Center for Learning creates resources and opportunities that encourage Arkansas educators to promote a sense of purpose, hope, academic achievement, and resilience for learners who struggle as they experience barriers to learning.
Respect – We will treat all individuals with dignity by seeking to understand their point of view and by being sensitive to their thoughts and feelings.
Integrity – We will apply the highest standards to our work, honor our agreements, and demonstrate honesty in our work with others.
Teamwork – We will value diverse backgrounds and perspectives as we seek solutions to difficult challenges.
Trust – We will trust the intentions and work done by our colleagues/partners.
Solution Focus – We will pursue solutions that affect the quality of life of individuals, especially those individuals who confront significant barriers.
Action – We will promote a mindset where groups and individuals become increasingly aware of needs and take action for meeting those needs.
I. Introducing Mashburn Center for Learning
A. Identify the vision
B. Identify the mission statement
C. Explain distinctive features of the center for achieving the mission
D. Demonstrate school, teacher, and learner successes through qualitative and quantitative data
II. Creating New and Anchoring Existing Strategic Partnerships
A. Arkansas Department of Education
B. School-based administrators, including principals, superintendents, instructional coaches,
and other support staff
C. Kansas University Center for Research on Learning
D. University of Central Arkansas leadership, including the president of the university
E. University of Central Arkansas colleges and departments involved in teacher preparation
F. University of Central Arkansas Foundation
G. Arkansas Educational Cooperatives
H. Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN)
I. Two-Year Colleges
K. Inter-university Network
III. Funding Sources
A. Arkansas Department of Education
B. University of Central Arkansas Foundation support
C. Mashburn Foundation
D. Federal Grant Support
E. Private Foundation Support
F. Legislative Support
G. Two-Year College Support
IV. Professional Development
A. Continue professional development for present participants
B. Build critical mass within present professional development sites
C. Continue professional development for building capacity for certified professional
developers in SIM methodologies
D. Continue professional development for preservice education among faculty members
involved in teacher education
E. Continue building capacity to certify preservice Professional Developers across universities
F. Create professional development activities designed to prepare university tutors to increase success among university learners at-risk to fail
G. Provide professional development opportunities for education co-ops
H. Develop Beacon of Hope Schools
I. Create a clearinghouse for professional development
J. Create a clearinghouse of materials/resources (e.g., library of books, audio-visual materials, speaker/consultant resource list) designed to help promote professional development about struggling learners
K. Organize and host professional conferences, symposiums, and focus groups about ways to help struggling learners
A. Become a center for developing data based interventions designed to help struggling
B. Encourage faculty members to conduct research on strategies for helping struggling learners
C. Support scholarly efforts (publishing and presenting) relevant to helping struggling learners