COE News

Meet the New COE Faculty and Staff

Meet the Spring 2022 New Faculty and Staff>

COE Awards

  • Dr. Andrew Tawfik (ICL) and IDT doctoral students Arthur Graesser, Jessica Gatewood and Jaclyn Gishbaugher won the AECT Design and Development Division 2021 Outstanding Journal Article Award for their article "Role of questions in inquiry-based instruction: Towards a design taxonomy for question-asking and implications for design" which was published in Educational Technology Research and Development.
  • Congratulations to CEPR Doctoral Student Alicia Stires! She won a 2021 Research in Progress Award this month at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Education Research Association (MSERA)/Mid-South Education Research Foundation (MSERF) for presenting work on her residency research project, "ACEs and College Attendance: Exploring Gender and Ethnicity as Moderators". Alicia is pursuing a doctorate in the EDPR program. Congratulations on the great work, Alicia!

Dr. Anna Falkner, ICL, Wins Dissertation Award

Congratulations to Dr. Anna Falkner, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education in ICL, on being award the 2019-2020 NCSS Larry Metcalf Exemplary Dissertation Award from the National Council for Social Studies. Dr. Falkner’s dissertation is titled “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”: Learning About Race in the Early Grades. It focuses on how children in two early grades classrooms in Texas learned about race and racism in everyday ways. Using video-cued ethnographic methods, Dr. Falkner spent almost a year in the classroom with children observing, learning from and filming children, then used clips from their class experiences in focus groups to explore how they made sense of those experiences. Dr. Falkner says of her research “Young children are already learning about and working to disrupt race and racism in our society.  My goal is for my work to amplify what they’re doing and to help teachers better support children’s racial literacies in the classroom.”

Dr. Falkner’s award comes from the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the largest professional association in the country devoted solely to social studies education. NCSS strengthens and advocates social studies by engaging and supporting K-12 and college educators of history, civics, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology and law-related education. As a recipient of the Larry Metcalf Exemplary Dissertation Award, Dr. Falkner will receive a commemorative gift and the opportunity to present a session at the NCSS Annual Conference on her research.

COE News

Dr. Batastini and CEPR Students to Present at American Psychology-Law Society Conference

Dr. Ashley Batastini and her research team of CEPR doctoral students in the Counseling Psychology program will present nine conference paper talks or data blitz presentations at the annual meeting of the American Psychology-Law Society (APA Division 41) in Denver this coming March. This premier conference in the field of Counseling Psychology focuses on “Enhancing well-being, justice, and human rights through the science and practice of psychology in legal contexts. (AP-LS Conference website >).

CEPR doctoral students Kaylee Cook, Jade Horton, Madison Lord and Meera Patel will present presentations as first authors. Jade Horton, Meera Patel and Sarah Pringer will also present projects that they co-authored. Dr. Batastini has also co-authored many of these projects. Cook, Horton, Lord, Patel and Pringer all work with Dr. Batastini in the Correctional and Forensic Psychology Lab at the UofM. The lab seeks to develop innovative ways to reach and connect the systems necessary for reducing criminal risk and enhancing public safety. Learn more about our students, Dr. Batastini and their work at the lab >.

The impressive list of projects accepted to the conference include:

  • Cook, K. E., & Batastini, A. B., Fuentes, B. H. “A longitudinal evaluation of Stepping Up, Stepping Out with incarcerated men in restricted housing.”
  • Horton, J., Batastini, A. B., Miller, O. K., & Morgan, R. D. “Mental health services in restricted housing: Do we know what’s going on behind the steel doors?”
  • Lord, M. R., Jones, A. C. T., & Batastini, A. B. “Who has the last say? The influence of attorney questioning on credibility perceptions of remote forensic evaluations.”
  • Patel, M., & Batastini, A. B. “Who’s at the bottom of the hiring list? Exploring the compounding effects of applicant race and offense history type on hireability.”
  • Batastini, A. B., Davis, R. M., Jones, A. C. T., & Horton, J. “Treating women incarcerated in or at-risk of restrictive placements: A Statement of the problem and considerations for practice.”
  • Davis, R. M., Batastini, A. B., Sacco, D., Dahlen, E., & Jones, A. C. T. “Does race matter? An examination of defendant race on legal decision making within the context of an actuarial violence risk assessment.”
  • Davis, R. M., Batastini, A. B., Dahlen, E., Sacco, D., Warlick, C., Anumba. N.  “Race, risk, and confinement: An examination of offender race on post-conviction placement and mandated treatment decisions within the context of an actuarial violence risk assessment.”
  • Jones, A. C. T., Jackson, C., Pringer, S. M., & Batastini, A. B. “An early attempt at quantifying prosecutorial misconduct in the United States legal system.”
  • Jones, A. C. T., Horton, J., Patel, M. B., Pringer, S. M., & Batastini, A. B. “Demographic and pre-treatment correlates of engagement in telepsychological services for rural justice-involved clients.”

Dr. Griswold's chapter published

Congrats to Dr. Wendy Griswold, associate professor of Higher & Adult Education in the Department of Leadership and director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education, on her published chapter "Learning to Recreate the World: Adult Education for Environmental Sustainability" in Advancing the Global Agenda for Human Rights, Vulnerable Populations & Environmental Sustainability. The overall objective of the edited collection is to highlight the conditions of vulnerable populations from various contexts globally, and the role adult and higher education can play (and is playing) in advancing the United Nations agenda of social and economic justice and environmental sustainability. This book highlights adult education’s critical partnership in addressing these global issues. Learn more at IAP's website>.

Dr. Helen Perkins named Chair of the ILA Recognition Commission

perkinsDr. J. Helen Perkins, professor of literacy in the Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership, has been chosen as the Chair of the ILA Recognition Commission for the International Literacy Association (ILA). ILA is a professional organization connecting research and practice to continuously improve the quality of literacy instruction across the globe. The Commission is responsible for both formulating National Recognition standards and policies and determining the criteria and process for evaluating these standards. The Commission confers ILA National Recognition and National Recognition with Distinction to Universities' Reading/Literacy Specialist and Elementary/Intermediate Classroom Programs. Dr. Perkins’ tenure as Lead Writer on the Literacy Standards in ILA makes her uniquely qualified for this role. 

Dr. Perkins hopes to expand ILA’s reach as the Chair of the ILA Recognition Commission. She states, “I have two future goals:  to increase HBCU applicants and to make this an international option. ILA is in over 125 countries, and I would love to see them with this opportunity!  We will also work to honor as many universities as possible who meet the standards.” Congratulations to Dr. Perkins on this significant appointment! 

CREP's Partnership with Virginia DOE led by Cindy Muzzi

Cindy MuzziThe Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has recently awarded the Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP) a contract to evaluate its 21st Century Learning Communication Centers program. CREP has evaluated this program since 2005 through a series of yearly contracts that have brought more than $1.2 million in total to CREP and the College of Education since inception. This year’s contract budget is over $90K.

The partnership between CREP and the VDOE has been successful in no small part due to the efforts of Cindy Muzzi, CREP Research Associate II. As Co-Principal Investigator (PI) and project manager, she is not only responsible for ongoing communications with VDOE but manages all logistical aspects of the project. Cindy programs Virginia’s comprehensive surveys in the Qualtrics system, manages survey administration to participants, and designs and produces complex Qualtrics-generated reports. This involves intense and ongoing collaboration with VDOE partners. Other project personnel include Dan Strahl, P.I., Dr. Todd Zoblotsky, Co-PI, Dr. Brenda Gallagher, and Robert McKinney, Research Associate 1.

Cindy joined CREP as a Research Associate I in 2009 and was promoted to Research Associate II in 2020. She continues to apply her strong organizational skills to ensure the success of multiple projects. In addition to being CREP’s Qualtrics expert, she coordinates and assists other Center researchers. Working with the Associate Director, Cindy has managed multiple high-profile University of Memphis internal surveys. This highly sensitive work includes surveys for the Faculty Senate, Human Resources Department, the Vice President of Student Affairs, the Provost’s office, and the Office of University Legal Counsel. Cindy’s dedication and attention to detail are the prime reasons these University entities continue to reach out to CREP.

Eric Platt's New Book Persistence through Peril has been published

Dr. Eric Platt, associate professor and chair in the Department of Leadership, recently published "Persistence through Peril: Episodes of College Life and Academic Endurance in the Civil War South" which was co-edited with Holly A. Foster (University of Southern Mississippi). This edited collection features contributions by Dr. Platt and many other scholars and considers academic and organizational perseverance via chapter “episodes” that highlight the daily operations, struggles, and successes of select Southern institutions. Through detailed archival research, the essays illustrate how some Southern colleges and universities endured the deadliest internal conflict in US history.

To date, most texts regarding higher education in the Civil War South focus on the widespread closure of academies. In contrast, Persistence through Peril: Episodes of College Life and Academic Endurance in the Civil War South brings to life several case histories of Southern colleges and universities that persisted through the perilous war years. Contributors tell these stories via the lived experiences of students, community members, professors and administrators as they strove to keep their institutions going. Despite the large-scale cessation of many Southern academies due to student military enlistment, resource depletion and campus destruction, some institutions remained open for the majority or entirety of the war. These institutions—”The Citadel” South Carolina Military Academy, Mercer University, Mississippi College, the University of North Carolina, Spring Hill College, Trinity College of Duke University, Tuskegee Female College, the University of Virginia, the
Virginia Military Institute, Wesleyan Female College, and Wofford College—continued to operate despite low student numbers, encumbered resources and faculty ranks stripped bare by conscription or voluntary enlistment.

Learn more about Dr. Platt's book and order your copy from University Press of Mississippi here>.

Growing Project Memphis: ICL Faculty Provide Early Intervention for Young Children and Families with Special Needs

Dr. Laura Casey, professor in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership, and her commitment to serving young children (aged 0-2) with special needs and their families continues to be rewarded through state and federal grants with recent awards from the TN Department of Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) totaling $2.7 million dollars. These recent awards are the result of Casey’s ability to sustain, maintain, and grow a long-standing home and community grant with the state known as Project Memphis (PM). Under her leadership, this early intervention (EI) service-based grant has grown exponentially in terms of the number of families seen and the type of services provided.

Over the last few years, PM expanded beyond developmental therapy to also include Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) assessment/therapy and psychological evaluation/diagnostic services through the TEIS’s vendor program. This expansion to other disciplines resulted in a team-based, interdisciplinary approach to EI. The team approach is the gold standard for EI with UofM leading the way in west TN.

The grant will allow Casey and her team to continue home and community-based services through 2024 as well as add center-based therapies. The center-based services, once housed and ready to launch, will offer a wide array of services from diagnostics to individualized and small group programs aimed at maximizing each child's development across several domains (adaptive-social-emotional- behavioral) using a team-based approach designed to promote inclusive preschool readiness. The new center-based grant will work in tandem with the home-community grant and will seek to employ licensed behavior analysts, registered behavior technicians, developmental therapists, social workers, and psychologists.

These new opportunities will serve as an opportunity for wraparound services for families at the Integrated Community Health Clinic (ICHC) that will be comprised of ABA faculty and faculty and students from the Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research department. The new grants received, along with the existing initiatives, will also provide more on campus practicum and internship placements for students in the COE and better connect with other free service grants on campus such as Regional Intervention Program (RIP: a parent training program for children 0-6 with behavior disorders), UMBRELLA (an autism focused grant shifting to a billing model) and TN Behavior Supports Project (a school based positive behavior intervention grant currently working with SCS).

For more information on these awards and/or these initiatives, contact Dr. Casey at lpcasey@memphis.edu.

CEPR Faculty and UofM Colleagues Earn Grant to Support Students

The University of Memphis has received a four-year, $1.89 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Behavioral Health Workforce, Education and Training (BHWET) Program to establish the INTEGRATE program – Interprofessional Teams Grounded in Apprenticeship, Telehealth and Evidence. The program will provide funded practicums or internships for students in the COE programs Master of Science in Counseling and Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology as well as in the Master of Social Work and Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology.

“The Mid-South includes several shortage areas for mental health professionals,” said Dr. Susan Neely-Barnes, principal investigator on the grant and professor, director and chair of the School of Social Work. “Through the INTEGRATE program, the University of Memphis will be able to address workforce shortages in the Mid-South region.”

Students in the INTEGRATE program will receive interdisciplinary training in areas critical to addressing the community’s behavioral health needs including integrating behavioral health care into primary care settings; interdisciplinary teamwork; cultural humility and competency; substance abuse treatment; adverse childhood experiences (ACEs); and violence prevention and recidivism reduction. 

The grant is a collaboration of faculty from the School of Social Work (Dr. Susan Neely-Barnes; Dr. Laura Taylor, assistant professor; and Dr. Paige Pirkey, postdoctoral fellow and adjunct professor); the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research (Dr. Michelle Brasfield, assistant professor; Dr. Ashley Batastini, assistant professor; Dr. Chi Li, assistant professor; and Dr. Suzanne Lease, associate professor); and the Department of Psychology (Dr. Kristoffer Berlin, associate professor; and Dr. Meghan McDevitt-Murphy, professor).

Dr. Leigh Harrell-Williams, CEPR, and Research Team's Video Featured in NSF Showcase

Dr. Leigh Harrell-Williams, CEPR, and a team of researchers from the UofM Department of Mathematical Sciences (Math), University of Colorado Denver and Auburn are participating in the 2021 STEM for ALL Video Showcase sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF IUSE-funded collaborative project “Promoting Success in Undergraduate Mathematics through Graduate Teacher Training (PSUM-GTT)” aims to strengthen the instructional skills of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) in the Mathematical Sciences. The video highlights the impact of the peer mentoring program and an equity-focused joint critical issues seminar held in 2020, through Zoom, for GTAs and faculty at all three campuses. 

The NSF Stem For All showcase highlights nearly 300 federally funded projects via short videos related to improving STEM and computer science education in K-12, higher education and informal environments. Videos share strategies to address racial and gender inequities and to broaden participation in the midst of COVID.

UofM faculty working on the grant include Mathematical Sciences chair Dr. Irena Lasieka (Memphis PI), CEPR’s Dr. Leigh Harrell-Williams (Research Lead), Mathematical Sciences faculty members Dr. Fernanda Botelho, Dr. Scotty Houston and Dr. Ben McCarty, Mathematical Sciences graduate student Josias Gomez, and recent CEPR graduate Dr. Jessica Webb. The PSUM-GTT program was developed by Mathematical Sciences faculty at University of Colorado Denver (Dr. Michael Jacobson, PI). The current funding allows for replication of the program at UofM and Auburn University (Dr. Chris Rodger, PI).

Dr. Harrell-Williams is excited that the team can highlight their project in the Video Showcase. She states, “The goal of the program is to improve the academic outcomes of the undergraduates that these graduate teaching assistants teach, now and in the future. We know that undergraduates' experiences in mathematics courses, especially the freshman-level classes that these GTAs teach, impact undergraduates' choices to pursue or remain in STEM majors as well as their degree completion.” 

To learn more about this influential project and view the team’s video, visit the NSF Stem Video Showcase>.

CREP Partners with Engineering Research Visioning Alliance

The College of Education Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP) is beginning a prestigious partnership with the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance (ERVA). Established via a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation, the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance (ERVA) was officially launched on April 7, 2021. The first engineering research visioning alliance of its kind, ERVA is a diverse, inclusive and engaged partnership that enables an array of voices to impact national research priorities. ERVA will help the U.S. remain an international leader by identifying and developing new, high-impact engineering research directions to help the engineering community solve major challenges and improve daily life. 

CREP’s team is led by P.I. Dr. Todd Zoblotsky with Dr. Carolyn Kaldon and Dan Strahl serving as Co-P.I. CREP’s portion of the award as a Subawardee to ERVA is $800K for the first five years with more years anticipated. Dr. Zoblotsky, P.I, states, “CREP is excited and honored to be part of this amazing alliance tasked with setting the direction for engineering research for the nation.  Along with Co-PIs Dr. Carolyn Kaldon and Dan Strahl, we look forward to showcasing ERVA’s progress and success. This partnership is not only a highlight in CREP’s research portfolio but will elevate the University’s profile through this important work.” 

To learn more about ERVA and get involved, visit www.ERVAcommunity.org> and follow @ERVACommunity on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Learn more about CREP and their work at memphis.edu/crep>

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!

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.

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!