Spring 2021 Newsletter
Want to stay up-to-date with the College of Education?
- Welcome from Dean Hill-Clarke
- COE: Driven by Equity
- COE Students Focus on Race, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- COE Launches New Undergraduate Concentration and Minor
- Campus Community Fund Awarded to Literacy Center
- Campbell Trust will Benefit COE Students
- COE Student Awards
- COE Faculty and Staff Awards
- COE Faculty, Staff and Alumni Highlights
The unprecedented challenges of teaching, researching, and serving in 2020-2021 have
brought many obstacles but have also given our faculty, staff, and students a chance
to show their innovation, fortitude and dedication to equity in education. Our quote
this academic year comes from Booker T. Washington, “If you want to lift yourself
up, lift up someone else.” Lifting and inspiring others drives all we do in the College
of Education as we strive to be responsive to our school district and community partners.
As we are faced with three pandemics –a global health pandemic, economic challenges, and systemic racism – the College of Education seeks to be a local, national, and global leader in our commitment to advancing an environment where diversity, social justice, equity, and inclusion are paramount. Our inaugural newsletter was set to come out just as the COVID-19 pandemic struck, thus we decided to delay its publication. There was much to celebrate in 2019 and early 2020, and you will find a link to the College’s inaugural newsletter here>. This year's newsletter focuses on our dedication to excellence, innovation, and action. Our faculty, staff and students are engaged in groundbreaking and impactful research, teaching, service, and community projects that reflect our unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Thank you for sharing in our journey with us. We invite you to visit our website at memphis.edu/education> to learn about upcoming events, to partner with us or to enroll in one of our nationally ranked programs.
Kandi Hill-Clarke, Ed.D.
Dean and McRae Professor
National tragedies and peaceful protests in summer 2020 shined the spotlight on the ongoing pandemic of racism plaguing our nation. The COE administration, led by Dean Hill-Clarke and Dr. Beverly Cross, Chair of Excellence in Urban Education, reaffirmed our dedication to be “Driven by Equity” by hosting Race, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (RDEI) circle talks. These informal, virtual talks included groups of COE faculty, staff and students who were asked to respond to questions centering around the COE’s role – currently and in the future - in the work of anti-racism and promotion of diversity, inclusion and equity. The student, faculty and staff responses were compiled and will form the basis of the COE’s RDEI response plan, which will provide the COE with clear, actionable steps to promote anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion. With ongoing RDEI discussions and action plans, the COE is taking responsibility to contribute to solutions and remain 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 COE’s Race, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is charged with advancing an environment where diversity, social justice and equity are paramount. Learn about our RDEI Work and meet the faculty, staff and students serving on the COE Race, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee>.
COE Equity-Driven Teaching Series
As part of our ongoing commitment to RDEI work, we launched the COE Equity-Driven Teaching Series in fall 2020. The inaugural panel discussion "Lessons Learned: Student Engagement in Unprecedented Times" featured tenure-track COE faculty, some of whom joined the COE in fall 2020, discussing equity in virtual learning. The panelists were Dr. Edith Gnanadass from the Department of Leadership, Dr. Patrick Murphy from Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research (CEPR), and Dr. Mia Obiwo, Dr. Wesam Salem and Dr. Andrew Tawfik from Instruction and Curriculum Leadership (ICL). Dr. Alfred Hall, assistant dean, served as moderator. The panelists discussed equity in teaching by outlining classroom activities designed to facilitate conversations on race, diversity, inclusion and equity and helping students deal with discomfort in such conversations by being open and honest as educators. The panelists also discussed leading students through the transition to virtual learning and assisting students who are coping with stress caused by the pandemic. View the panel discussion here>.
COE students have also demonstrated their commitment to be Driven by Equity through the Diversity Committee and a student panel focusing on RDEI work in the College of Education.
The Diversity Committee is a group of graduate students engaged in critical conversations about multicultural issues within themselves, between committee members and throughout the Memphis community. Housed in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research (CEPR), the Diversity Committee is open to all UofM graduate students who are committed to its mission to “equip individuals for educating, mentoring, serving and actively engaging in opportunities that challenge stereotyped beliefs and create an atmosphere of openness, curiosity, inspiration, responsibility and concern for others.”
Daniel Lattimore, doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology Doctoral program, serves as the Diversity Committee president with representatives and officers from across the COE. The Diversity Committee has hosted and participated in many events throughout Memphis, including a discussion on White Fragility and Anti-Racism in October 2020, a virtual Equity-driven Community Conversation and Dialogue, and participation in a Unity Walk. To learn more about the Diversity Committee, meet its officers, or join the committee, visit their website>.
COE Student Panel Discussion focuses 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 College. The panel was co-facilitated by Brea Hinds (undergraduate River City Partnership Teacher Scholar, RCP) and Daniel Lattimore (graduate student, CEPR). Panelists included graduate students Jenesis Anderson (Leadership), Marcos Villa Corrales (ICL), Tristan McKenzie (CEPR), Dericka Tillman (ICL), and undergraduate students Cody Cameron (RCP) and Margaret Maxwell (ICL).
The panelists explored community relationships and ways that the COE could incorporate RDEI in teaching, student engagement and community partnerships. The discussion was insightful and timely, generating 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 Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership in the College of Education has developed a Youth Development undergraduate concentration within the Integrative Studies major and a new K-12 Education undergraduate minor focused on creating a pathway for non-education majors to enter the teaching profession. These two programs will help UofM students achieve career goals while responding to critical employment needs in the Memphis community.
In response to requests from students and community partners, the Integrative Studies Youth Development concentration launches fall 2021. The Integrative Studies: Youth Development Undergraduate degree is an authentic, innovative program designed collaboratively with the COE’s non-profit partners and under the leadership of Chair of Excellence in Urban Education, Dr. Beverly Cross. Dr. Cross explains, “The cutting-edge and culturally relevant curriculum will attract a new professional population to our campus, respond to local needs and expand the contributions we can now make to serving youth and those who work with them throughout our community in non-profit and social sectors. The program is explicit in its focus on the developmental needs and assets of youth as future leaders, advocates and citizens. It is exemplary of the College of Education's commitment to excellence and innovation in action.”
This non-licensure program will provide students who are interested in serving in non-profits and educational support structures with a dedicated course of study, practicum, internship and a path to a career. With thousands of non-profits in the city of Memphis alone, many of which work with children, this program is necessary to equip students with skillsets needed in our community. Students in the Integrative Studies: Youth Development concentration will take specialized courses focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and gain real-world experience to work with youth in non-school settings. Newly-developed courses focus on culture, identity, equity and advocacy. The initial cohort of students will begin courses in fall 2021.
Lisa Moore, President and CEO of Girls Inc. of Memphis and COE alumna, helped shape the program with Memphis non-profit organizations at its center. She states, “This curriculum will elevate the profession of Youth Development and equip graduates to effect real change in their communities. I am receiving overwhelmingly positive responses from my peers in the work, so I have no doubt that this program will be highly sought after and will become something other universities will want to model.”
ICL Launches New Undergraduate Minor
ICL's K-12 Education minor launches in fall 2021. The K-12 Education Minor will allow non-education majors, especially those in the College of Arts and Sciences, to complete a partial program of study that will lead to teaching licensure in Tennessee, as opposed to beginning their teacher preparation coursework after undergraduate graduation. The 6 course (18 credit hour) minor allows non-education majors to enroll in courses that will prepare them for the classroom. Upon completion of the minor and earning a passing score on the Praxis exam in their major content area, graduates will become eligible for a job-embedded practitioner’s license. This temporary teaching license will allow individuals to begin teaching in K-12 schools while completing the remaining required graduate courses to obtain the actual Tennessee Practitioner Teacher License. A specialized 5-course (15 credit hour) Graduate Certificate track will allow students who earned the K-12 Education minor to continue their matriculation through to completion of the teacher licensure process in Tennessee.
Dr. Alfred Hall, assistant dean of the COE, states, “The K-12 Education minor will help address the critical shortage of secondary teachers, especially in mathematics and science, and will also provide a clear career pathway for non-education majors who are interested in impacting their community by becoming highly-effective classroom teachers.”
The UofM Center for Literacy Research and Practice (CLRP) is housed within the Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership (ICL) in the College of Education. CLRP’s mission “is to enrich the literacy practices of residents in the Mid-South with an emphasis on justice, equity, culture and social and emotional growth. The Center creates multi-age literacy events, in which UofM students encourage reading and writing within and across families, schools and communities." The goal of the Center is to develop K-12 students' confidence in themselves as readers and writers, educate UofM students in how to work effectively in K-12 and community settings, and provide UofM graduate students an opportunity to conduct and disseminate research (CLRP website). CLRP faculty and graduate assistants, led by Dr. Laurie MacGillivray, demonstrate their commitment to their mission through research and numerous community outreach programs including writing clubs across the Mid-South and Backpack Book Loans which delivered books to Memphis families in summer 2020 to assist with academic and economic hardships caused by the pandemic.
In 2020, The UofM Center for Literacy Research and Practice was awarded funding by the UofM Campus Community Fund. Their project "Literature Circles: Shared Stories in a Virtual World with UofM College of Education Students and Seventh Graders" is a shared literary experience for UofM students in the Honors College and local seventh grade students in Bryan Walker's English class at White Station Middle, Shelby County Schools (SCS). Mr. Walker is currently pursuing his doctorate in Literacy through the ICL department and serves as a graduate student research associate for the CLRP.
The Literature Circle grant, which is also known as “Take the Mic,” allows small groups of middle-schoolers and college students to discuss short stories using a platform with quick videos, much like Snapchat and TikTok. The Center intends this project to use students' interest in social media to scaffold literacy engagement. Dr. MacGillivray says of the project, “Through this grant, we overcame the barriers created by the pandemic and connected UofM undergraduates with SCS students. Through technological innovation, they were able to get to know each other and further their understandings of their own and others’ perspectives as they responded to literature.”
Take the Mic has impacted SCS and UofM students participating in the project. Kendall, an 8th grader, states, “I enjoyed how open we could be about our opinions. During the pandemic, it felt really good to express how I felt, even if it was just about a book that we were reading. As middle schoolers, we don’t get to talk to college students as often, unless we have siblings, so it was nice to hear what they had to say.” Samantha Williams, a UofM English major, says, “Not only was the project a nice opportunity to read new literature, but it was also so interesting to hear the White Station students' perspectives and interpretations. They were extremely thoughtful and insightful about the stories, and how the stories reflected the world we're living in.”
The UofM Campus Community Fund funds programs and events that positively impact the University of Memphis campus community, which includes students, faculty and staff. Congratulations to Dr. MacGillivray and her team for promoting literacy and receiving this award! Learn more about the Center for Literacy Research and Practice at their website>.
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.
- Spencer Hancock, Herbert E. Rumble Award
- Tyia Lee, Herbert E. Rumble Award
- Angela Kuykendoll, Outstanding Doctoral Student in Higher and Adult Education
- Bridget Decent, Outstanding Doctoral Student in Higher and Adult Education
- Adam Poole, Outstanding Doctoral Student in Special Education
- Kiersten Hawes, Outstanding Doctoral Student in Counselor Education and Supervision
- Martha Burke, Outstanding Doctoral Student in Counselor Education and Supervision
- Montel Epperson, Outstanding Graduate Student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Rita Jorgensen, Outstanding Graduate Student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Allison Schimmel-Bristow, Outstanding Graduate Student in Counseling Psychology
- Keishana Barnes, Outstanding Graduate Student in Educational Psychology
- Derwin Sisnet, Outstanding Graduate Student in Educational Research
- Patrick Shipp, Outstanding Graduate Student in Educational Research
- Anna Rivera, Outstanding Graduate Student in Rehabilitation Counseling
- Beth Harms, Outstanding Graduate Student in Rehabilitation Counseling
- Janie Trenthem, Outstanding Graduate Student in School Counseling
- Karsyn Sewell, Outstanding Graduate Student in School Counseling
- Lindsey Swafford, Outstanding Graduate Student in Applied Behavior Analysis
- Ariel Laws, Outstanding Graduate Student in Early Childhood Education
- Malinda Douglas, Outstanding Graduate Student in Early Childhood Education
- Chelsie Dubay, Outstanding Graduate Student in Instructional Design and Technology
- Maria Hubbard, Outstanding Graduate Student in Instructional Design and Technology
- Jennifer Cordero, Outstanding Graduate Student in Secondary Education
- Alisha Milam, Outstanding Graduate Student in Secondary Education
- Erin Oldershaw, Outstanding Graduate Student in the School Library Information Specialist Program
- Haley French, Outstanding Graduate Student in the School Library Information Specialist Program
- Amanda Roberts, Outstanding Graduate Student in the School Library Information Specialist Program
- Ashley M. Johnson, Outstanding Leadership and Policy Studies Student Award
- Rhonda M. Anthony, Outstanding Leadership and Policy Studies Student Award
- Rachel DuVall, Outstanding Master’s in Higher and Adult Education Student Award
- Kyle Lawrence, Outstanding School Leadership Graduate Student Award
Career Milestone Awards
- William Akey, LEAD, 35 years
- Rosie Phillips Davis, CEPR, 35 years
- Yeh Hseuh, CEPR, 20 years
- Annette Cornelius, ICL, 15 years
- Clif Mims, ICL, 15 years
- J. Helen Perkins, ICL, 15 years
- Kay Reeves, ICL, 15 years
- Dan Strahl, CREP, 15 years
- Mandy Strahl, CREP, 15 years
- Janet Robbins, LEAD, 10 years
- Leslie Vanelli, CSHE, 5 years
- Amy Wilson, Dean's Office, 5 years
2020-2021 COE Staff and Faculty Awards
Outstanding Staff Member Award
- Dr. Christine Bertz, Cindy Muzzi> and Dr. Brenda McSparrin Gallagher, Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP), and their team presented a poster session, "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," at the Office of English Language Acquisition National Professional Development 2020 Directors Meeting and Virtual Conference.
- Dr. Edith Gnanadass>, Leadership (LEAD), was named Hooks Academic Research Fellow by UofM's Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change
- Dean Hill-Clarke received the WKNO SPARK Awards 2020 Education Leadership Award
- 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. Sandra Nichols, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership (ICL), was named Hooks Academic Research Fellow by UofM's Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change
- Dr. Susan Nordstrom>, Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research (CEPR), was named the 2021-2023 American Educational Research Association Program Chair of the Foucault & Contemporary Theory in Education Special Interest Group.
- Dr. S. Mia Obiwo, ICL, 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. R. Eric Platt, chair of the Department of Leadership, was named vice president and program chair for the Organization of Educational Historians (OEH) for 2021.
- Dr. Derrick Robinson's, LEAD, article "“We Got Y’all!”: Leading and Supporting Black Male Teacher Trajectories" was published in the Peabody Journal of Education.
- Dr. 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 through advanced technology used in observations and coursework.
- 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 and Ethnic Minority Women in STEM: Academic, Professional and Psychosocial Outcomes for Mentors and Mentees."
- Dr. Andrew Tawfik>, ICL, co-edited Learner & User Experience Research: An Introduction for the Field of Learning Design & Technology (EdTech Books).
- Dr. Jade Xu>, CEPR, and alumnae Dr. Yasuko Kanamori published an article entitled "Factors Associated with Transphobia: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach" which appeared in the Journal of Homosexuality.
- Dr. Stephen Zanskas>, associate dean in the College of Education and associate professor in CEPR, was
recognized by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification for his dedication
and service as chair of the Ethics Committee (2017-20).
Ayanna Perkins was hired in fall 2020 as the Clinical Placement and Induction Coordinator in the Office of Teacher Education and Clinical Practice (TECP). She previously served as the Career Services Specialist focused on the College of Education with an office in Ball Hall, so she was very familiar with the COE and COE students. She said she’s excited about being an official part of the COE family because of the warm, collaborative staff and because the COE “has felt like home since my first day.”
Ayanna is excited for the “opportunity to streamline processes that enhance the experience of our future teachers” – a goal she is already working toward. She is currently assisting Dr. Robinson in reaching her goal of making the Office of TECP paperless. She is also working with her colleagues in the Office of TECP to “eliminate barriers to student success in the teacher education program” such as setting deadlines, increasing communications and reorganizing the TECP website. Ayanna is also “working in partnership with faculty and staff to create support and enrichment experiences for students from their first years in college through their residency and clinical teaching experiences,” such as orientations, information sessions and student forums.
As a doctoral student in the Instruction and Design Technology program in ICL, Ayanna brings innovative ideas to the Office of TECP. Outside of the office, Ayanna is a podcast lover, especially Levar Burton Reads. Ayanna is so excited to be an official member of the COE family, stating “the best part of this job is working with a truly phenomenal, student-centered and equity-minded team.”
Dr. Nichelle Robinson, Director of the Office of TECP says, "Ayanna is the bright spot in my day! She is always upbeat, energetic, and enthusiastic about what the day holds for us!" Ayanna received the 2021 COE Outstanding Staff Award.
Keith Hembree serves as Coordinator for Undergraduate Recruitment for the COE. He is often the first person that new COE students get to know, whether he is hosting virtual information sessions, attending recruitment fairs, visiting classrooms or meeting with prospective undergraduate students. His primary role is to provide information about the College of Education that encourages students and future leaders to join the teaching profession.
Though working remotely has changes many of aspects of recruitment, Keith’s innovation and dedication to his position has remained. Dr. Alfred Hall, Assistant Dean of Student Success says, “Keith Hembree has been a positive and persistent presence at the center of the College’s recruitment and retention efforts. His work has helped contribute to the enrollment growth the College has experienced over the past several years.”
When asked about the College of Education, Keith states, “I love getting to interact with all our amazing faculty, staff. and students and sharing their passion for social justice, equity and inclusion on to prospective students.” He says his favorite thing about his role is “being able to support and guide prospective students through the admissions process and watch them grow into well-rounded teachers as they go from being freshmen to college graduates.”
Keith is also a COE student - a second year Doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision program in CEPR. When he’s not at work, Keith loves being outside. One of his life goals is to hike the entire Appalachian Trail from start to finish.
Joshua Wylie, MAT, ICL
Joshua Wylie (BA from UofM '18; MAT from UofM College of Education '20) is an equity-driven teacher at University Middle. Wylie says, "As a lifelong Memphian, I was raised with a respect for the unique Memphis culture and an intense appreciation for the value each person adds to our Memphis community. This appreciation was cultivated by the area in which I was raised - Frayser, one of the most economically depressed areas in Memphis. My mother, a Filipina immigrant, alongside my father, successfully raised 5 children. My parents stressed the need for us to always seek to achieve 'more' than they had in their lives, and we each took that as a personal challenge. My siblings and I allowed our individual experiences to shape our future careers and personal commitments to service."
Wylie serves as an educator at the University of Memphis Middle school, more commonly referred to as UMiddle. He states, "Every single day, I get to challenge students of all backgrounds to critically think and develop their own 'brands' of self efficacy. I have the privilege of teaching 6th grade Social Studies and Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO), a curriculum created right here in Memphis. This curriculum allows students the opportunity to go beyond the surface of certain concepts and to develop their unique understandings of their identities and the community around them. Connecting our City's civil rights struggle with this curriculum is a constant gift because its relevancy in 2021 is just as pertinent as 1968, the year Dr. King was assassinated. UMiddle's unique project-emphasis allows for an experiential learning journey for both students and teachers."
Wylie is "honored to have spent 6 years learning, loving and appreciating the University
of Memphis. I have learned that I just can't seem to get away from that Tiger Blue!"
Jennifer Shorter, MAT, ICL and EdD, LEAD
Dr. Jennifer Shorter received her MAT from the COE in 2008 and her EdD in Leadership and Policy Studies (LEAD) in 2012. Dr. Shorter tells of her commitment to equity as she shares her story: "As a first generation college student, my drive for equity comes from my compassion for others. My parents had alternating work schedules; my mom worked a 9-5 and my dad worked the night shift. The schools in my neighborhood were not the greatest, but I had educators who recognized my potential and informed my parents of other schooling options. My parents were fortunate enough to enroll me in optional schools, but they also had to provide me with transportation to these schools.
Many of our parents want to provide access to better educational options for their children, but scheduling conflicts, financial constraints, and even the lack of transportation among a host of other challenges keep them from being able to provide the opportunity I had -- access to high-quality schools. My goal is to ensure that every child, in every neighborhood has access to high-quality schools.”
As a new Regional Lead for K-12 School/LEA Continuous Improvement in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and in partnership with the [local and state educational leadership], Dr. Shorter provides leadership with the design, implementation, monitoring and adjusting of the systems of support and accountability to ensure the value and high quality for all services delivered to Local Education Agencies and Pennsylvania schools. She provides critical leadership and expertise in the development, delivery and continuous improvement of statewide services for Pennsylvania's Statewide System for LEA and School Improvement for schools, which have been identified in need of Comprehensive Support and Improvement.
Natalie Humphries, MS, CEPR
Natalie Humphries received her BA in Psychology in 2005 and her MS in School Counseling from CEPR in the COE in 2014. Humphries is driven by equity as a professional school counselor. She says, “I recognize and celebrate my students’ individual differences and strive to support my underserved students by providing equitable treatment and guide them through their educational journeys. I advocate for my students to ensure they get the high-quality education they deserve and supports they need to be successful. I want all students to have access to all post-secondary opportunities.”