COE News

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. Eric Platt's New Book to be Released in October

Persistence through Peril: Episodes of College Life and Academic Endurance in the Civil War South, the new book by Dr. Eric Platt, Associate Professor and Chair in LEAD, (co-edited with Holly A. Foster) will be released in October through University Press of Mississippi. The edited collection that includes research by Dr. Platt and other scholars illustrates the lived experiences of college students, professors and administrators who studied, taught and led institutions of higher education during the deadliest internal conflict in US history—the American Civil War. Chapters focus on such topics as institutional longevity in the face of surrounding cataclysm, student military conscription, the effects of emancipation and college women during the war. Dr. Platt states that this work, “counters the narrative that all southern higher education closed during the Civil War years and presents insights as regards Antebellum intellectualism and institutional survival, as well as post-war academic and social reorganization to maintain institutional longevity in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Learn more and pre-order your copy here>.

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! 

College of Education: Driven By Equity

Equity: The College of Education Driven by ExcellenceIn Summer 2020, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and a much-needed national focus on race, diversity and equity, Dean Hill-Clarke and Dr. Beverly Cross, Chair of Excellence in Urban Education, hosted Race, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (RDEI) Circle Talks in which staff, faculty and students of diverse backgrounds from across the College of Education were invited to candidly explore RDEI and brainstorm practical ways to show how the COE is Driven By Equity. The RDEI Circle Talks lead the COE's "work to address issues around institutionalized racism, systems of oppression and health, educational and economic inequalities while building upon our vision and core values, moving from conversations and plans to action and evidence," says Dean Hill-Clarke.

These Circle Talks led to the creation of the COE RDEI Committee which includes COE faculty, staff and students. The Committee will work to help the COE live up to its mission statement and to "advance an environment where diversity, social justice and equity are paramount." Meet the faculty, staff and students serving on the COE Race, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee>.

As part of our Driven by Equity initiative, in fall 2020, we launched the COE Institute on Equity-Driven Teaching. The inaugural panel discussion "Lessons Learned: Student Engagement in Unprecedented Times" featured tenure-track COE faculty, some of whom have just joined the COE, discussing equity in virtual learning. The panelists were Dr. Edith Gnanadass from the Department of Leadership, Dr. Patrick Murphy from CEPR, and Dr. Mia Obiwo, Dr. Wesam Salem and Dr. Andrew Tawfik from ICL. Dr. Alfred Hall served as moderator. View the panel discussion here>.

RDEI Committee Sponsors Student Panel Centered on Equity

In February 2021, the COE RDEI Committee sponsored a student panel focused on increasing the COE’s commitment to being Driven by Equity. “A Student-Led Conversation and Call to Action: Toward A Culturally Responsive and Equity Driven College of Education” featured undergraduate and graduate students from across the COE. The panel was co-facilitated by Brea Hinds (ICL and RCP undergraduate) and Daniel Lattimore (CEPR graduate). Panelists included graduate students Jenesis Anderson (LEAD), Marcos Villa Corrales (ICL), Tristan McKenzie (CEPR), Dericka Tillman (ICL, MAT), and undergraduate students Cody Cameron (ICL, RCP) and Margaret Maxwell (ICL).

The discussion drew in over 50 faculty, staff and students virtually. The panelists explored community relationships, ways that the COE could incorporate RDEI in its research, student success in relation to RDEI and actionable steps that the COE could take in order to become a more equity-driven college committed to race, diversity, equity and inclusion. The discussion was insightful and timely and generated many ideas for the COE as it moves forward in its commitment to centering RDEI work in its mission and day-to-day operations.

The entire panel discussion can be viewed here>.

The College of Education: Equity in Research, Teaching and Service

Throughout the month of February, in honor of Black History Month and as part of our commitment to diversity, social justice and equity, the COE is featuring programs, research, teaching and service on our social media that show how the COE is Driven by Equity. Review and find more information about the featured work, which represents a small portion of the Equity-driven work produced by COE faculty, staff and students. 

  • Dr. Carloyn Kaldon and Dr. Todd Zoblotsky lead CREP in two NSF ADVANCE projects that focus on equity for women and underrepresented minorities in recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of STEM faculty.
  • Dr. Edith Gnanadass, LEAD, shows she is Driven By Equity in her article (co-authored with L. Merriweather), "Troubling the discursive moment: Using Black texts for activating dialogue" (published in Adult Education in the Age of Trump and Brexit) which argues for the use of Black texts as core readings in adult learning courses. Read the article here>.
  • Visit http://jabbedu.com/show30/ or your favorite podcast app to find Dr. Will Hunter's, ICL, podcast appearance on Jabbedu "RTI, MTSS, PBIS and #HipHopEd." Dr. Hunter discusses these important educational concepts and how teachers can show equity in supporting students by providing assistance based on their level of need.
  • Led by Dr. Christine Bertz, CREP has partnered with the Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis to evaluate outcomes of Vision 2020, a 5 year initiative that aims to reduce poverty in South City, an area of Memphis with a median income level less than 1/3 of the Shelby County average. Through Vision 2020, Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis invests in community programs that support basic household needs, adult job skills, positive outcomes in youth, success in kindergarten, and financial education skills. Dr. Bertz & the CREP team assists with Vision 2020 by summarizing overall program impact, developing community partner capacity for data collection, identifying barriers to program implementation and evaluating reactions to challenges from COVID-19. Read more about Vision 2020>.
  • Dr. Wideline Seraphin, ICL, was named a 2020 Writing Fellow for Curriculum Inquiry, a top educational journal. Her research focuses on the geographies of Black transnational girlhood & curriculum grounded in a 'Black sense of place.'
  • Congratulations to Dr. Jade Xu (CEPR) and alumnae Dr. Yasuko Kanamori for their publication "Factors Associate with Transphobia: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach" which appeared in the Journal of Homosexuality. Their study examined factors associated with transphobia with a particular focus on the interrelations between religious fundamentalism and contact to impact transphobia. Find the article here>.
  • Dr. Anna Falkner, ICL, with Dr. K Payne wrote an article entitled "'Courage to Take on the Bull': Cultural Citizenship in Fifth Grade Social Studies" in Theory and Research in Social Education. The case study focused on case study of one white fifth-grade teacher and her two classes of culturally and linguistically diverse students who engaged in critical social studies content that created opportunities for students to use and learn about cultural citizenship. View the article here>. 
  • Dr. Susan Nordstrom, CEPR, and her fall 2019 graduate-level feminist research methods class showed Equity in Teaching and Equity in Research in their collaborative final paper: "She Embodied: A Materialized Collective". Dr. Nordstrom and her students decided to continue their weekly discussions, during which they wrestled with both theory and practice in this paper. Read their work>
  • The CREP team led by Dr. Zoblotsky is conducting an equity audit for Shelby County Schools outlining the extent to which any barriers to educational equity exist among schools and neighborhoods in the district, using district and publicly-available data from SCS & TNDOE. For this equity audit, CREP examined SCS's data at the school and neighborhood-level on a variety of outcomes related to academics, socio-emotional development, school climate and staffing.
  • Dr. Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw, ICL, won the American Educational Research Association Special Institute Group's Distinguished Research Paper Award for "The Efficacy of a Virtual Peer Mentoring Experience for Racial & Ethnic Minority Women in STEM: Academic, Professional & Psychosocial Outcomes for Mentors & Mentees." Dr. Rockinson-Szapkiw and her co-authors will be honored at the AERA Conference in April.
  • CREP staff Dr. Christine Bertz, Cindy Muzzi and Dr. Brenda McSparrin Gallagher & their team presented a poster session at the Office of English Language Acquisition National Professional Development 2020 Directors Meeting, Virtual Conference. CREP's presentation "LASER Focused on English Learners: PD plus an inquiry-based science curriculum improves K-8 teachers' perceived ability to support ELs and reduces the achievement gap in math and reading" focused on Equity In Teaching and Equity in Research.
  • Dr. S. Mia Obiwo, ICL, recently published an article co-authored with Diane M. Truscott called "Context Matters: Cultivating Dispositions of Responsive and Equitable Teachers for Urban Schools" in School-University Partnerships. The article (found here>) explores teacher dispositions in urban schools. 
  • CREP led by Dr. Carloyn Kaldon is partnering with ALLMemphis and ARISE2Read projects that focus on supporting literacy in local Memphis urban schools and neighborhood communities, especially through high quality literacy instruction.
  • Dr. Brian Wright and Donna Ford's article "Re-mixing and Re-imagining the Early Childhood School Experiences of Brilliant Black Boys" in Boyhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal focuses on equity in gifted education for Black students, especially Black boys.

    This scholarship has been presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), American Educational Research Association (AERA), and National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME). Read the article here>.

Dean Hill-Clarke Receives WKNO SPARK Award

Dean Hill-Clarke and Spark awardCongratulations to Dean Hill-Clarke for receiving The SPARK Awards 2020 Education Leadership Award! The WKNO SPARK Awards honor leaders who are fueling change and giving back to the Mid-South. We are so proud of you and thankful for your leadership, Dean Hill-Clarke. Dean Hill-Clarke's leadership has allowed the COE to progress on a "Do Better Journey" focusing on a commitment to equity, diversity, social justice leading to a positive impact on Memphis, the Mid-South and the world. View Dean Hill-Clarke's award video on YouTube>.

Office of Teacher Education and Clinical Practice Receives Technology Grant

Nichelle RobinsonDr. Nichelle Robinson and the Office of Teacher Education and Clinical Practice recently received one of AACTE's EdThena $25k grant to support our teacher candidates. The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Video Observation Technology Implementation Grant, offered in partnership with Edthena, helps educator preparation programs enhance training for future teachers in methods courses, field observations, skill building and group learning via advanced technology. It will provide real-time feedback in a virtual setting. Dr. Robinson said that this program is important in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and virtual or socially distanced teaching and observation.

The program allows supervisors to supervise our candidates in this virtual setting through videos, provides an online portal for candidates to demonstrate their teaching, allows feedback to be uploaded at the exact point in teaching demonstrations and encourages candidates to self-assess by reviewing video and comments. Dr. Robinson said she's excited about, "Any technology we can use to enhance our candidates experience." To learn more about the grant, visit AACTE's site> or learn more about Dr. Robinson and the Office of Teacher Education and Clinical Practice on their site>.


CREP Leads K-8 Literacy Assessment

Carolyn KaldonZoblotsky photoThe Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP) has been awarded $1.4 million to conduct a large-scale literacy assessment study. PI Dr. Carolyn Kaldon, along with co-PI Dr. Todd Zoblotsky, will lead a team at CREP to conduct a nationally representative validation study of the English and Spanish versions of a K-8 literacy assessment which provides rich, individualized data on each student's reading behaviors to guide teachers' decision making and enhance students' literacy instruction. CREP is partnering with a leader in the field of literacy to validate these assessments, and the project will involve approximately 36 schools and 1,200 students in grades K-8 across multiple regions in the US: Northeast, Southeast, West, and Midwest. The project team will lead the administration of over 3,600 one-on-one student assessments on three separate occasions across two school years. They will then conduct both quantitative and qualitative analyses after each administration to provide statistical feedback for assessment modifications, and after the last administration, provide thorough evidence of the reliability and validity of the assessments. This project will provide long-term benefits to educators and practitioners. When literacy assessments are being considered for purchase by a school or a district, administrators seek validation research to enable them to adopt such evidence-based materials.