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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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COE News

The College of Education Partners with TN Department of Education for Grow Your Own Program

The University of Memphis College of Education has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Education through Tennessee’s Grow Your Own (GYO) initiative—immediately expanding opportunity to train future teachers and strengthening the teacher pipeline in Tennessee. UofM joins 8 other recently approved Educator Preparation Programs across Tennessee that will partner with local districts to help create a simple pathway for students who are interested in teaching to receive the training and credentials needed to serve in local classrooms. Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeships are a sustainable recruitment strategy to address both short- and long-term needs by addressing localized district staffing challenges.

"The GYO Program will positively impact the apprentices who participate as well as our district partners,” says Dr. Nichelle Robinson, Director of the Office of Teacher Education and Clinical Practice, “Each cohort of apprentices will build bonds with each other and our UofM College of Education faculty as they receive the supports needed to become teachers who will positively impact student learning. We will see the teacher pipeline grow over time as apprentices return to their community as highly effective classroom teachers familiar with their districts and the students those districts serve." 

In addition to the partnership, The UofM College of Education has been approved for subgrant funding from the Tennessee Grow Your Own Center to support teacher apprentices who will begin program coursework in Summer 2023. These funds will go to support apprentice tuition, fees, Praxis costs and mentor stipends – providing students in the program with a truly no-cost educational experience.

 “We are excited to have our College of Education approved as one of the state’s Grow Your Own teacher apprenticeship providers”, said Dr. Kandi Hill-Clarke, dean of the College of Education. “This collaborative effort will allow school districts and educator preparation programs to enhance teacher pipeline efforts as we work to prepare classroom and student ready teachers.” 

Learn more about the program >.

Dr. Bettencourt, LEAD, receives Emerging Scholars Award

Dr. Genia Bettencourt, Assistant Professor of Higher & Adult Education in the Department of Leadership, received the 2023 Emerging Scholar Award from the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). Dr. Bettencourt receives this award as completion of her two year term as an ACPA Emerging Scholar. The ACPA Emerging Scholars Program supports, encourages and honors early-career individuals who are emerging as contributors to student affairs and higher education scholarship and who are pursuing research initiatives congruent with the mission, interests and strategic goals of ACPA.

Dr. Platt, Chair of the Department of Leadership, says, “Dr. Bettencourt is a valued member of the Department of Leadership community. As a scholar, she not only contributes to the academic field of student affairs, but she also works diligently to ensure our graduate students have a quality programmatic experience as both practitioners and future scholars.”

Dr. Bettencourt will be honored at the ACPA Conference in March.

Dr. Batastini, CEPR, receives Early Career Teaching and Mentoring Award

Congratulations to Dr. Ashley Batastini, CEPR, on receiving the 2023 Early Career Teaching and Mentoring Award from the Teaching, Training and Careers Committee of the American Psychology-Law Society. This reward reflects Dr. Batastini's impressive contributions to education, training and mentorship in the field of psychology and law.

Dr. Rosie Phillips Davis, Professor in CEPR, says of Dr. Batastini, " Ashley is a hardworking contributor to our University and to our profession. She is working hard to engage with members of the Memphis community and is just the kind of professor we need."

Batastini says of the Early Career Teaching and Mentoring Award, "I was fortunate to have incredible mentors at every stage of my academic career, beginning as a first-generation undergraduate. By seeing more talent in me than I saw in myself, they proved how impactful a true advocate can be. Attempting to pay forward what was given to me is a main reason I chose this career path. This award is especially meaningful because it suggests I’m making some progress toward that aim. I also thank my students for trusting me and giving me opportunities to work with and support them."

Batastini will be honored at the 2023 American Psychology-Law Society Conference in Philadelphia next month.

College of Education Teacher Preparation Program Accredited by CAEP

The University of Memphis College of Education has been accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The Fall 2022 review by the CAEP Accreditation Council > resulted in 55 educator preparation providers receiving accreditation, bringing the total to 507 providers approved under the CAEP Accreditation Standards > – rigorous, nationally recognized standards that were developed to ensure excellence in educator preparation programs.   

“These institutions meet high standards so that their students receive an education that prepares them to succeed in a diverse range of classrooms after they graduate,” said CAEP President Dr. Christopher A. Koch. “Seeking CAEP Accreditation is a significant commitment on the part of an educator preparation provider.”  

CAEP is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Accreditation is a nongovernmental activity based on peer review that serves the dual functions of assuring quality and promoting improvement. CAEP is a unified accreditation system intent on raising the performance of all institutions focused on educator preparation. 

Dr. Kandi Hill-Clarke, Dean of the College of Education, says, "Earning national accrediation is a significant and major accomplishment. I am so proud of our faculty, staff, students and school partners. This was truly a team, collaborative effort."

CREP partners with Seeding Success and SCCSP team to evaluate community resources in local schools

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded $15 million to launch and sustain the community school model, positioning neighborhood schools as a base for providing resources for students and families in the community. These funds, along with $15M in matching and in-kind dollars, were awarded to the Shelby County Community Schools Partnership (SCCSP) from the U.S. Department of Education’s Full-Service Community Schools Program (FSCS). Led by DeVonté Payton, the SCCSP is a collaboration between Seeding Success, Memphis Shelby County Schools, Communities In Schools of Memphis, Memphis Business Academy, Millington Municipal School District, Frayser Community Schools and the University of Memphis. Approximately 3,400 families and students annually will benefit from this partnership.

The UofM team working on this project as the external evaluation partner is led by Dr. Todd Zoblotsky & Dr. Carolyn Kaldon, at the Center for Research and Educational Policy (CREP). CREP’s evaluation efforts throughout the award period will determine the outcomes of this program and if it should be scaled to more schools in the future.

Learn more about this project on the Seeding Success Website.

Dr. Jacqueline Stephen, ICL alumni, named Fulbright Scholar

Congratulations to Dr. Jacqueline Stephen on receiving a Fulbright US Scholar Program award to Azerbaijan from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Dr. Stephen graduated in 2020 with her EdD in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership with a concentration in Instructional Design and Technology from the COE and currently serves as an assistant professor of instructional design and director of the Office of Distance Learning at Mercer University. She has more than 18 years of national and international experience in higher education. Her research has examined factors associated with persistence of undergraduate online students, with much of her research focusing on self-regulated learning, self-directed learning, online learning self-efficacy and high-impact practices for online teaching.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the US government and is designed to forge lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, counter misunderstandings and help people and nations work together toward common goals. Dr. Stephen will use the award to design, develop and teach courses centered on instructional design and training and development. In addition to teaching, she will facilitate faculty and student professional development programs in the form of workshops, webinars and seminars.

Dr. Stephen says of her time in the UofM College of Education,"My coursework through the IDT doctoral program helped me to establish a research agenda that is well-aligned with my career and professional interests. The program enabled me to enhance my research skills and provided me with the foundation that I needed to engage in scholarly work. I am looking forward to utilizing the knowledge and skills I gained through the program to prepare emerging educators and researchers in Baku, Azerbaijan." Congratulations, Dr. Stephen!

Dr. Dan Collier publishes work on PSLF

Dr. Dan Collier, assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, and his co-author, Dr. Dan Fitzpatrick, University of Michigan, secured a grant from the Shared Ascent Fund through the Student Borrower Protection Center, a nonprofit organization focused on eliminating the burden of student debt for millions of Americans. This grant allowed them to conduct a study and release their initial findings in a White Paper  called “Jubilee and Jubilation: An Examination of the Relationship between Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Measures of Well-Being.” This report is a groundbreaking analysis which reveals the massive personal benefits that student loan borrowers enjoy as they approach and ultimately achieve debt cancellation through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

Dr. Collier’s innovative and influential work has been cited in Forbes, Inside Higher Education, Augusta Free Press and by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. Current Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona recently retweeted this piece as well. 

Dr. Collier explains the findings of his report: "Without the recent efforts to fix the PSLF program - this work would have been next to impossible to engage as so few borrowers were granted forgiveness.  While the PSLF program has a long way to go before it is working as intended, this research is among the first of its kind to show both financial and well-being aspects of achieving student loan forgiveness. Of particular value, our work shows that being on the pathway to forgiveness is not related to financial or well-being outcomes until borrowers are within 12 qualifying payments.”  

The work for Dr. Collier and Dr. Fitzpatrick is ongoing as the number of student loan borrowers who receive PSLF increases. Dr. Collier states, “We are collecting data throughout the student loan repayment pause and intend to engage additional analyses - including sub-groups tests by race and ethnicity and in late 2023 matched sample tests when the pause is lifted.  We thank our funders at the Student Borrower Protection Center for supporting this work and ongoing efforts." To learn more and read Dr. Collier’s report, visit the Student Borrower Protection Center website>.

Dr. Jennifer Renick, CEPR, Wins Dissertation Award

Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Renick, Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology in CEPR, winner of the 2022 Outstanding Dissertation in the Field of School Climate, from American Educational Research Association's School Community, Climate, and Culture (SC3) Special Interest Group! Dr. Renick graduated in 2022 from University of California Irvine. 

Renick's award-winning dissertation is titled "Developmentally Appropriate Educational Environments: Exploring the Impact of Student Autonomy and Interpersonal Relationships on Diverse Young Adolescents." Her dissertation sought to address gaps in school climate research by expanding understanding of the impact of autonomy and interpersonal relationships on student outcomes, focusing on students who are often underrepresented in such studies – low-income, Latine young adolescents. The three studies that were conducted utilized approaches that are well suited to school climate research, but often underutilized: youth participatory action research and social network analysis.

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