M E S S A G E  
F R O M  T H E  D E A N
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November 2018

bruce johnson
People who feel gratitude are less likely to be depressed and worried, and more likely to feel satisfied with their lives. Some may see this as wishful thinking, but there is  significant scientific literature to back up that statement.

We have much to be grateful for at the College of Education during this month focused on gratitude. On top of our list is a new grant that will help prepare Indigenous elementary teachers for STEM instruction.

The U.S. Department of Education grant will double the number of Native American students in our Indigenous Teacher Education Project. The $1.2 million grant also will establish new tribal partnerships and support a new focus on STEM education.

Valerie Shirley
"As a result of this grant, we are now able to provide this next generation of teachers with skills and practices in STEM, as well as the confidence needed in order to integrate STEM within their classrooms," said project director and Assistant Professor Valerie Shirley

More on this story.

We also are grateful to be near the finish line of our new strategic plan.

Over the past few months, the College of Education has made major strides in imagining and shaping the future of the college. As an institution, our college faculty and staff have made it a priority to evolve and grow with society and, more importantly, our students. Since beginning this process of reflection with an eye toward the future, we have come together as a college to uncover what is most important for the success and well-being of the college. 

Some of the first outcomes of the 2018 Strategic Plan were setting a new mission statement, determining an updated vision, defining five key values, and establishing five main goals for the college. To finalize the objectives for our goals and anticipated behaviors for our values, we recently developed 10 teams that are dedicated to making sure we meet our aspirations. 

The entire process has been inclusive of all voices, and we are thrilled about the progress we have made so far and look forward to seeing the results of the next steps.

Enhancing Education Equity. Transforming Lives.
The College of Education promotes learning, research, and transformative action to create a more inclusive and equitable community and world.  We are committed to:
  • Dynamic learning experiences that help students connect theory and research with practice
  • Innovative teaching and educational technologies that enhance all student experiences
  • Research that speaks to core questions of policy and practice
  • Strong partnerships and collaborations
  • Diversity and inclusion within all college practices
  • Student Success
  • Transformative Action
  • Equity
  • A Diverse and Inclusive Community
  • Collaboration
  • Improving/Increasing Access
  • Building Collaboration
  • Advancing Knowledge, Research, and Innovation
  • Informing Policy
  • Foundational Goal: College Excellence
Stay tuned as we create the expected behaviors for the college's values and objectives for each of our goals.
A Growing Need: Mental Health Services in Schools

mother consoling daughter

The need for timely, responsive mental health services in school communities is growing. According to the National Alliance for Mental Health, as many as 20 percent of youth under the age of 18 will experience a mental health condition, yet only half will receive mental health services. That number is much lower for Hispanic, African-American, and Asian-American students. Addressing mental health in schools can reduce the drop-out rate, lower the risk of suicide, reduce risky behavior, improve help-seeking, and improve academic achievement. 

With a great deal of persistence, effort, and passion on behalf of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies Assistant Professor Lia Falco and members of our school counseling program, we have received final approval from Tucson Unified School District to create a new program as part of TUSD's Family Resource Centers. Getting to this point has been a multi-year effort.

The new program (yet to be named) will establish counseling practicum and internship placements through the TUSD FRCs. As part of their fieldwork experience requirements, our counseling master's students will have the opportunity to be placed in the one of the four TUSD FRCs for their practicum or internship. TUSD students and families will then have the opportunity to receive mental health counseling services, from our counseling students, under supervision and free of charge.

Housing our new program in the FRCs will expand access to potentially thousands of students and families who might otherwise experience significant barriers to mental health services -- barriers that include cost, transportation, language, child care, and timely referral.

While the partnership will create a quality, sustainable training model for our counseling students, it also will enhance our engagement in the community by providing a valuable and necessary service to some of the most underserved students in Tucson. 

Celebrating 20 Years of the Smith Endowment
"When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment
in which it grows, not the flower."
Alexander Den Heijer

kris bosworth
Kris Bosworth

smith endowment dinner
Jill Koyama, Sara Chavarria, Regina Deil-Amen, and Jenny Lee (left to right)

smith endowment dinner
Joyce and Paige Phelps

This month, we celebrated 20 years of the Smith Endowed Chair for Prevention and Education at the Arizona Inn with 80 guests. The reception captured the inspiration the Smiths imparted and the impact the Smith endowment has made in the community and for children. 

Who are the Smiths, you ask?

Lester L. and Roberta D. Smith were devoted benefactors to the UA College of Education. Formerly of Peoria, Illinois, Lester Smith was the owner of a company that manufactured aluminum and plastic products for homes. Lester Smith once wrote, "Since we came to Tucson in 1972, we have been fortunate to build an enriching and satisfying relationship with the college, which shares our belief that caring for children is society's most important responsibility."
In 1996, the Smiths created the endowed chair dedicated to the development and distribution of scholarly work and research to prevent substance abuse and promote self-esteem and personal competence in school-aged children.

Professor Kris Bosworth was appointed as the first Smith Endowed Chair for Prevention and Education in 1998. Her work focuses on supporting schools in building and maintaining safe and protective school climates. The impact of this partnership is impressive:
  • 2,700+ trainings, workshops, and conferences in k-12 schools
  • 1,500+ coaching or technical assistance sessions in K-12 schools
  • $15.7 million grant funds awarded ($6.3 million in the College of Education)
  • $12 million grant funds raised since 2009 by Smith Junior Faculty awardees
Many schools, agencies, and organizations talked about how funds from the endowment had impacted students in the K-12 and higher education systems.

"The Smiths' passion and dedication to making the world a better place for children was reflected in all the project reports at this amazing celebration," said Bosworth.

Dean Bruce Johnson  spoke about being in the first cohort as an assistant professor to receive a seed grant from the endowment and how important it is for beginning assistant professors to have support for establishing their ongoing research agenda.

It's Approved! New Minor: 
Recreation and Sport in Communities, Parks, and Schools

soccer balls

Recreation and sport activities provide countless benefits for communities and people of all ages. This minor prepares students to provide quality and inclusive leisure experiences in a variety of settings.

Our new minor not only prepares students for potential careers in recreation, sports, and parks, but challenges them to think critically about issues impacting their communities. Educational inequities in the United States are often exacerbated by unequal access to quality after-school programming, as well as extracurricular and summer activities. This "out-of-school" issue may receive less attention from education advocates, but research shows some of our most powerful learning and developmental experiences happen while playing a sport, when exploring nature and parks, as well as at the theater or museum (to name just a few alternative settings).

child jumping off diving board
The minor is available to undergraduate students starting in spring 2019 and will be offered both on-campus and fully online. Outside of the core courses, students will be able to select classes from various departments across campus to fit their interests and future career goals.  More .


What Do La Estrella Bakery and
Student Teachers Have in Common?

learning at la estrella bakery

Student teachers from the college's early childhood education program visited La Estrella Bakery to learn about one of the most celebrated traditions in Mexico: Día de los Muertos. The class was led by Franco sisters Erica and Isabel, who shared stories about growing up in the bakery. 

Their parents opened La Estrella in 1986. Students learned about Día de los Muertos traditions like the making of the altar and pan de muerto. In honor of their late great uncle, the Francos built an altar in the bakery with offerings, or ofrenda in Spanish, like bread, flowers, and some of his favorite things, including beer and soccer. They shared stories about his life while explaining the cultural significance of making an altar to honor ancestors. 

In the back of the bakery, Erica and Isabel gave a first-hand look at the making of pan de muerto. The students even had the chance to make their own painted sugar skulls. Teaching, Learning, & Sociocultural Studies Associate Professor Iliana Reyes  organized the visit to demonstrate the importance of understanding and implementing community and cultural traditions in the classroom setting.

Our New Diversity Committee

different types of corn

The newly formed College of Education Diversity Committee works to promote and celebrate diversity throughout the college's community. The main role of the committee is to propose and implement recommendations related to diversity for the dean and college council to review.

The committee seeks to enhance diversity by:
  • Developing educational or professional development programming related to diversity
  • Cultivating representation by recruiting and retaining diverse faculty, staff, and students
  • Creating an environment for College of Education community members to express diversity-related concerns
  • The committee also will annually review the college's Diversity Action Plan and perform university-mandated activities related to diversity
Message from the Alumni Council

Thank you to everyone who participated in Homecoming 2018 and attended our events.
wine harvest group
A beautiful day for a wine harvest! 

Our fourth annual Wine Harvest Homecoming Reception was a huge success! About 120 guests came to honor our Alumnus of the Year, Rufus Glasper '95, and our Sidney S. Woods Alumni Service Award recipient, Maura Mulligan '77 '80. Both were flattered to receive awards and spoke about being proud College of Education graduates.

We also had a great time at our tailgating tent, meeting alumni, watching the parade, and enjoying the campus spirit. Our students did face painting and tattoos for kids, and the Alumni Council spun its prize wheel, which is always a hit.



In lieu of a December Alumni Council meeting, we are having a Happy Hour on Monday, December 10, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at  The Dutch . We hope you will join us -- all College of Education alumni are welcome to attend!

Bear Down!

dave overstreet

David Overstreet '80 '86
Alumni Council President

Get Ready, Tri-State Alumni: 
We Have Something Just for You!

Come celebrate UA alumnus Richard Carranza as the new chancellor of New York City Schools at this exclusive event for UA alumni and members of the Wildcat community in the Tri-State area. 

A dedicated educator for nearly 30 years, Carranza is a graduate of Pueblo High School in Tucson and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education from the college in 1991.

Hosted by the College of Education and the UA Alumni Association.

Tuesday, Dec. 4
6-8:30 p.m.
408 5th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11215

A full Mexican buffet, tres leches cake, and unlimited sangria, margaritas, beer, white wine, and soft drinks will be provided for just $20!

RSVP here by Nov. 27.

Old Stormies Visit Project FOCUS

old stormies with project focus

First, let's explain what Old Stormies are: In 1962, two UA students met, became roommates, and started a group of about 30 men who became known around campus as "The Jet Set." They reunite every few years to reminisce, visit their old haunts, and go to Wildcat football games. At their last reunion in 2016, they created "The Old Stormies" as a philanthropic endeavor, in honor of their late friend Robert "Stormy" Douglas. That year, the Old Stormies chose to give back to the UA by supporting Project FOCUS and have been giving to the project ever since.

The Old Stormies have donated more than $35,000 to Project FOCUS over the last two years, which has allowed more students to participate in the program and to update the technology for the students.

Eleven Old Stormies came back to campus this month to meet with Project FOCUS staff, students, peer mentors, and parents. They enjoyed getting an update on Project FOCUS and seeing the impact their gifts have made over the last two years.
Inspiring Generations of Children

colin waite and marilyn ludwigh
Cooper's Colin Waite with Marilyn Ludwig

It takes passionate teachers to go beyond the boundaries of the schoolyard. When they do, their students are changed forever. On November 3, Cooper Center for Environmental Learning honored five outstanding educators who exemplified a commitment to environmental learning during their careers and inspired generations of children with experiences in nature.

The Cooper Center Teacher Appreciation and Donor Recognition honored these amazing educators:
  • Nancy Bonsall '72 of Green Fields Country Day School
  • Stephanie Greene-Hunley of Howell & Bloom Elementary Schools, TUSD
  • Marilyn Ludwig '52 '56 of Peter Howell and Kellond Elementary Schools, TUSD
  • Mark Olbin '85 of Lineweaver Elementary School, TUSD
  • Josie Riesgo '75 of Holladay Magnet Elementary School, TUSD
In addition to the awards presentation, the evening's program featured remarks by Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo of TUSD and Dean Bruce Johnson

Cooper Center supporters enjoyed live music from the Palo Verde Jazz Band & Choraliers, a traditional Cooper campfire, and stargazing with the Tucson Amateur Astronomers Association.

Educational Policy Studies & Practice
Julie Kasper , a University Fellow and doctoral student, explains the importance of preparing teachers of refugees in her article,  When the Nation Closes its Doors to Refugees, Schools Can Open Them . She discusses her involvement with the  Carey Institute for Global Good  and the
new  Refugee Educator Academy  in development to provi de learning opportunities for 10,000 refugee educators worldwide. In the article, Kasper considers the significance of our actions to support these children and teachers: "Research indicates that high-quality teachers in every classroom are the key factor in children's learning. This is especially true for refugee children, who are often many years behind their peers in grade-level knowledge, are working to master the English language and are tasked with healing from past trauma -- including being uprooted because of conflict -- while also acclimating to a new country and culture."

Nicolazzo also visited the University of Texas, Austin, to present her talk,  The Internet Is Basically My Hometown: Using Digital Space to Explore Transgender Identity Formation. Nicolazzo discussed her new research project, Digital Me: Transgender Students' Exploration of Self and Community through Digital Media.

Nicolazzo also traveled to Pacific Northwest College of Art to teach her workshop,  Teaching While Marginalized: What Our Bodies Teach Us About Critical Pedagogy. The workshop, centered around the idea of embodied pedagogy, encouraged audience members (faculty members, teaching assistants, and graduate students) to self-reflect on their own experiences as educators. Together, participants actively explored how to navigate student resistance of marginalized identities in classroom settings. 

Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies

Arizona Educational Foundation named Teach Arizona graduate Joshua Farr '07 as a Top 10 Teacher (semi-finalist) for Arizona. Farr is a science teacher at Cienega High School of Vail Unified School District. More.

Associate Professor Kristin Gunckel published a new article,
Repairing Elementary School Science, in the journal, Theory into Practice.


Kristi Lopez '09 made quite a splash as the coach of a dance team from Walden Grove High School, which was featured on America's Got Talent. It was the first time a high school dance group had been on the show. Lopez is the daughter of former UA baseball coach Andy Lopez. Watch them perform.

Now, her dancers have gone viral again, this time with a recent Harry Potter performance for Walden's homecoming. Good Morning America flew them out to perform for its Halloween show. The high school dancers received yet two more honors when they were named the Grand Marshalls in the UA Homecoming Parade and received the Frances McClelland Youth Award.

Happy Thanksgiving!
johnson signature
Bruce Johnson

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