College of Education Spring 2023 News Stories Archive

AERA Meeting Features COE Faculty and Students Across All Departments

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting is the world's largest gathering of education researchers and a showcase for groundbreaking, innovative studies in an array of areas.This year, the AERA conference in Chicago this April (with a virtual component in May) featured COE faculty and students across all three COE departments as presenters, co-authors, members of round table discussions and moderators.

The faculty and students who participated included Dr. Celia Anderson, Keishana Barnes, Dr. Genia Bettencourt, Dr. Michelle Brasfield, Dr. Dan Collier, Dr. Beverly Cross, Dr. Anna Falkner, Jessica Gatewood, Dr. Edith Gnanadass, Alexandrea Golden, Dr. Charisse Gulosino, Dr. Alison Happel-Parkins, Dr. Leigh Harrell-Williams, Dr. Dustin Hornbeck, Dr. Eli Jones, Madelyn McClarey, Dr. Olayinka Mohorn, Taylor Mule, Dr. Susan Nordstrom, Dr. Jennifer Renick, Justine Piontek, Dr. Suman Rath, Dr. Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw, Dr. Andrew Tawfik, Emily Srisarajivakul, Luke Walden and Dr. Brian Wright.

Learn more and see the full program at aera.net >.

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.

CEPR Graduate Students Receive NBCC Minority Fellowship

BrennanTera WarfieldTwo CEPR graduate students in the Clinical Mental Health program, Masters’ student Brennan Steele (left) and Doctoral student Tera Warfield (right) were awarded the Minority Fellowship for Mental Health Counselors from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The scholarship includes a stipend as well as travel expenses and opportunities for training and mentorship.

The federally funded Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) administered by NBCC has helped increase diversity throughout the counseling profession since 2012. According to the NBCC Foundation website, the fellowship program “helps ensure that the behavioral health needs of all Americans are met, regardless of language or culture, thereby reducing health disparities and improving overall community health and well-being.” Overall, more than 400 doctoral- and master’s-level students have received scholarships through this program. These students go on to practice counseling in underserved areas, educate and lecture on topics of interest, and research and develop exciting new counseling initiatives.

Brennan says of the opportunity, "It is an honor to be named an NBCC Minority Fellow, as I believe that it will further expand my capacity, alongside my coursework in the CMHC program, to provide the best mental health treatment and services for underserved communities in our local community and beyond." 

Tera says, “"I am so honored to be chosen for this fellowship. This opportunity will provide additional tools, skills and connections to further serve minority populations, which is my life's work."

Congratulations, Brennan and Tera, on this accomplishment!

Dean Hill-Clarke and Vanessa Cortez, COE Student, Honored at Office of Multicultural Affairs Event

In February, Dr. Kandi Hill-Clarke, dean of the College of Education, received the Freedom Award from the Office of Multicultural Affairs & the UofM chapter of NAACP. At the organization's Mahogany Ball, she was honored as an influential leader in the Memphis community for her service to education.

Dr. Steve Zanskas, associate dean, says, "We are so proud of Dean Hill-Clarke's recognition as an influential leader for service in the area of Education by The UofM's Office of Multicultural Affairs Chapter of the NAACP Freedom Award. Our College has long recognized Dean Hill-Clarke's leadership, inspiring our College's commitment to educational diversity, equity, and inclusion. Leadership matters, and we look forward to continuing our community's journey with her leadership."

COE undergraduate student Vanessa Cortez was also recognized at the ceremony for her work with A Seat At the Table >, an organization with the goal of empowering women students by providing mentorship opportunities, financial literacy lessons and career readiness skills. Vanessa is a sophomore River City Partnership student, Teaching All Learners major & President of A Seat at the Table.

We are so proud of Dean Hill-Clarke and Vanessa for their contributions to the College of Education and the UofM!

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.” 

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.