Driven by Equity

The College of Education at the University of Memphis is Driven by Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. We strive for excellence and transform innovation into action as we lead, teach, research, and serve. We train equity-minded teachers, educational leaders, counselors, and researchers who will impact Memphis, the Mid-South, and the world. 

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Upcoming Virtual Events

Doing Research with SCS with Jessica Lotz, Director of Research at SCS on April 21, 2021 via zoom. Click the link to register.

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COE News

Campbell Gift Endows $2.2 Million Scholarship for College of Education Students at the University of Memphis

The University of Memphis received a $2.2 million gift from the estate of Roger E. and Mary E. Campbell to establish scholarships for students who demonstrate academic excellence in the College of Education.

“Estate gifts are truly transformative for the University of Memphis,” said President M. David Rudd. “We are thankful for the Campbells’ vision and commitment to higher education. By including a bequest for the UofM in their plans, they have secured the futures of our students for generations to come.”

The Campbells were both first-generation college graduates with a long-lasting connection to higher education. Mrs. Campbell received a Master of Arts in Education Administration and Supervision from Memphis State University in 1958. She taught early childhood education as a staff instructor at MSU before moving to California with her husband in 1960.

“My parents credited a good deal of their success and ability to change their financial situation to receiving good educations,” said the Campbells’ daughter, Dr. Lori Campbell.

“It is a particularly difficult time for students who are navigating the typical challenges of pursuing a degree while facing unique uncertainties about the future,” said Dr. Kandi Hill-Clarke, dean of the College of Education. “This scholarship will mean that students can focus on the important task of finishing their degree in the College of Education, something that benefits not only them and their families but our entire community.”

The University of Missouri and the University of Arkansas also received gifts from the Campbells’ estate. According to Dr. Campbell, the estate plans included the universities both of her parents attended.

To learn more about how to design your legacy at the University of Memphis, contact Venita Doggett, COE Director of Development.

Dr. Edith Gnanadass and Dr. Sandra Nichols named Hooks Academic Research Fellows

Dr. Edith Gnanadass (Associate Professor in LEAD) and Dr. Sandra Nichols (Professor and Chair, ICL) have been named Hooks Academic Research Fellows in 2021 by UofM's Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change. Serving for two years, Fellows assist the Hooks Institute not only in fulfilling its mission of teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change but also in becoming a premier center for scholars working on race and social justice scholarship. The Institute's goal is to build a network of scholars that will give anyone visiting their website a more accurate sense of our work and partnerships.Dr. Gnanadass and Dr. Nichols demonstrate their commitment to be Driven by Equity in research, teaching and service through this honor. Learn more about the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change and their upcoming virtual events at their website>. 

Jaclyn J. Gish-Lieberman, ICL Doctoral Student, Honored with P.E.O. Scholar Award

Gish-LiebermanJaclyn J. Gish-Lieberman, an Ed.D. student in Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) in ICL, is one of 100 doctoral students in the U.S. and Canada selected to receive a $20,000 Scholar Award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She was sponsored by Chapter W of Memphis, Tennessee. Jaclyn is the daughter of Gail and Wayne Bable of East Palestine, Ohio and John and Evelyn Gishbaugher of Darlington, Pennsylvania. She was a U.S. Department of State English Language Fellow from 2010 to 2013 and has served as a U.S. Department of State English Specialist in several countries including Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Indonesia. She is a 2008 graduate of the University of Akron, where she was an honors scholar.

Dr. Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw, IDT Coordinator and Associate Professor in ICL, says of Gish-Lieberman's award, "I remain humbled by the amazing students, scholars, and, in this case, women we have the opportunity to work with and mentor."

The P.E.O. Scholar Awards were established in 1991 to provide substantial merit-based awards for women of the United States and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral-level degree at an accredited college or university. Scholar Awards recipients are a select group of women chosen for their high level of academic achievement and their potential for having a positive impact on society. The P.E.O. Sisterhood, founded January 21, 1869, at Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is a philanthropic educational organization dedicated to supporting higher education for women. There are approximately 6,000 local chapters in the United States and Canada with nearly a quarter of a million active members.

Congratulations, Jaclyn, on this distinguished honor!

Taylor Shive wins Second Place in Undergraduate Research Awards

Taylor ShiveCongratulations to Ms. Taylor Shive on winning 2nd Place at the Student Research Forum: Undergraduate Educational Research with her study "Evidence-Based Strategies for Special Education Literacy Instruction for a Student with Intellectual Disabilities". Taylor is a senior in the Teaching All Learners Program, part of the First Generation Student Outreach and an honors student at the Helen Hardin Honors College. Taylor completed her undergraduate research project with Dr. Ley Davis, Asst. Prof. of Special Education in ICL. Taylor will receive recognition for her work, an engraved plaque and a monetary award for her 2nd place finish in the undergraduate research category. She is the fourth undergrad to win a research award under Dr. Ley Davis in the last four years. Congratulations, Taylor!


Dr. Mia Obiwo, ICL, Receives AACTE Dissertation of the Year Award

Obiwo photoDr. S. Mia Obiwo, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in ICL, has received the prestigious 2021 AACTE Outstanding Dissertation Award for “Bringing Clarity to the Construct: A Content Analysis of Disposition for Urban Teaching and Learning.” Dr. Obiwo is in her first year at the UofM, having received her PhD at Georgia State University. She was honored at the February AACTE annual meeting and virtual conference. The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) represents educators throughout the United States who advance tshe profession through innovation, high standards and leadership.
Dr. Obiwo elaborates on her dissertation topic and its impact on future research and practice: “The triad of knowledge, skills, and dispositions is used in the field of teacher education as a common way to account for all of the components of good teaching. We know how to define and think about knowledge and skills. However, the term ‘disposition’ is ambiguous with varying perspectives and definitions. In my past experiences as an urban elementary school teacher and current experiences as a teacher educator, I've observed and collaborated with teachers who I knew had dispositions that would aid the success of a diverse range of children. Though I knew these teachers had desirable dispositions, it was hard for me to put them into words. I embarked on my dissertation journey with the goal of using decades of research on dispositions to clarify what we mean when we use the term. I also looked specifically at research that discussed dispositions relative to the urban school context to identify and describe desirable urban teacher dispositions. Taking it one step further, I outlined programmatic features during teacher preparation that help cultivate dispositions for urban teaching and learning.  
Ultimately, I like to think of teacher dispositions as a teacher’s (un)conscious attitudes, beliefs, and commitments that directly influence their instructional practices and relationships with children, families, schools and communities.” 
Dean Hill-Clarke said of Dr. Obiwo’s research, “Her dissertation has great and impactful implications for the field of teacher education. We are delighted to have Dr. Obiwo as a colleague in the College of Education at the University of Memphis where she will continue expanding her research and scholarly work on teacher dispositions.”

Dr. Obiwo’s commitment to be driven by equity is evident in her response to receiving the award. She states, “I am honored to be the recipient of the 2021 AACTE Outstanding Dissertation Award. I will continue using urban teacher education research as an informative vehicle for helping educators become culturally responsive, equity-oriented change agents in their classrooms and communities.” Congratulations, Dr. Obiwo! 

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The COE wants to celebrate our alumni, students, faculty and staff who are driven by excellence and demonstrate our values: diversity, inclusion, respect, innovation and service. We want to hear about your awards, accomplishments, promotions, nominations, research, publications and other professional and academic achievements. Read our stories>.

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UofM Magazine features the COE

The COE's Teacher Preparation Program and River City Partnership were featured in the Spring issue of University of Memphis magazine. Read about how we're changing the narrative here>.