APRIL 2020
girl working on computer at home
Continuing to connect with our communities
Not knowing what the future holds during these challenging times makes everything seem twice as hard, but we are working around the clock to continue to serve our communities in the best ways possible. I won’t list everything we are doing because this newsletter would never end, but I am including some highlights:

  • We quickly moved to online learning for our students. All classes were fully online just two days after spring break ended. We will continue in these formats through the rest of the semester.

  • College of Education undergraduate academic advisors are available Monday through Friday by phone at 520-621-7865 or Zoom

  • Student teachers are remotely helping in classrooms and will graduate and be certified to teach for the upcoming academic year.

  • Students in internships are advised on an individual basis since all situations are unique. About half will proceed as normal, since they can work from home and/or have already achieved their hours. For the rest, the college is working with the university’s Career Services to design some online experiences that will help them with their job searches after graduation.

  • We are offering educational support sessions for students and children. Each session is staffed by a volunteer education student, faculty, staff member, or alumni. 

  • Instructors and departments are holding Zoom meetings to connect with students to talk about things not related to classes (movies, TV shows, things they are doing) to create connections and community.

  • Talk it Out, a College of Education program that provides free and timely mental health counseling services to Tucson Unified School District students and families, began providing online counseling, using a telehealth model.

  • We are recording virtual information sessions for students who want to be admitted to the College of Education, so our recruitment continues!

  • For students who want to visit campus, there is now a virtual visit.

  • For those who do not have adequate access to the internet at their remote work space or current learning location, drive-up spots allow for access to the UAWiFi and Eduroam networks. This map shows all University of Arizona hotspots, in addition to drive-up WiFi options for students who live in Tribal Nations. While we're doing our best to keep this map up to date, location hours and availability may change as public health warnings and policies are updated. (Special thanks to the college’s Evan Brown, Valerie Shirley, Jeremy Garcia, and IngriQue Salt for their work on this map.)

  • Most public libraries offer free WiFi that can be accessed from the parking lot.

  • One of our community partners, Expect More Arizona, provides many resources on this blog. 

  • And the question on everyone’s mind: Commencement and College of Education Convocation. Students in the college and across the university were surveyed about a virtual ceremony vs. a live ceremony. Overwhelmingly, students wanted a live ceremony. To honor the original convocation date of May 15, we will do a virtual observance (we are still working out the details on what that will look like), but plans are underway for a live ceremony sometime in the fall, probably in conjunction with Homecoming 2020. Stay tuned.

If you have any questions about how we continue to serve our communities, please contact me. These are trying times, to be sure, and, fortunately, we do have more news to share. 

tep at cooper
Treasure trove of personal protective equipment

The Cooper Center for Environmental Learning discovered 24 unopened boxes of gloves at the center and promptly donated them to Tucson Unified School District for use by janitors and essential facilities staff working to keep schools and district buildings clean and safe. Cooper Director Colin Waite says, “We are happy to help in this small way to relieve the supply shortages that exist in our community, and we encourage everyone to join in and give where they can.”

The Cooper Center also received some wonderful news from Tucson Electric Power. Prior to social distancing, Waite hosted TEP’s Wendy Erica Werden and Ted Burhans to celebrate TEP's $25,000 award to revitalize the solar energy system at Cooper.

students in project focus
Series on autism

Students with autism continuing their education at the University of Arizona was unheard of 10 years ago. Our Project FOCUS, an innovative two-year transition program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, was featured in this series on autism on KGUN 9 On Your Side. Director Stephanie MacFarland notes, "Our program really is founded on what other college students do. The same is upheld for our students with autism and other disabilities. They have those same type of dreams and goals."

halfax with ordained minister badge
A shining example of resilience

Undergraduate student Eva Halvax is someone who doesn't allow obstacles to get in her way. She was hired as an intern to focus on Worlds of Words’ commitment to Tucson Festival of Books. Of course, now we know that was not meant to be.

Not to be deterred, Halvax is now learning online content coordination to complete her internship. 

Halvax also was set to attend her sister's wedding before social distancing began. Since she couldn't support her sister in person, she became an ordained minister and officiated the wedding virtually.

That's what we call resilience and adaptability!
Teachers in Industry accepting applications through April 17

Teachers in Industry offers teachers a combination of paid summer work experience in Arizona businesses and intensive coursework, leading to either professional development credit or a master’s degree. The program is accepting applications through April 17. Learn more about their flexible master's degree program and summer work experience with Raytheon Technologies. The program is making accommodations and still serving students during COVID-19. 

Disability & Psychoeducational Studies

Professor Sheri Bauman is a keynote speaker this month for the 13th International Scientific-Practical Conference, Adolescent in the City: Inequality and Opportunities, in Moscow, Russia. Now a virtual conference, her lecture, Adolescent Aggression, will be translated in real time. 

Counseling graduate student Alexis Dotson was accepted to Howard University and selected for the Frederick Douglass Doctoral Scholars Program. The program is for new doctoral students and recruits academically talented students with an interest in college or university teaching.

Graduate Natalie Larez ’19, who was part of the 2018 UROC-PREP AWARDSS (Access, Wellness, and Relational Determinants of Student Success) and mentored by Associate Professor Michelle M. Perfect, was recognized and featured by the Institute of Education Sciences in its Special Interview Series: Inside IES Research

Vanessa Perry headshot
Although Assistant Professor of Practice Vanessa Perry was invited to present at the 2020 Unimc for Inclusion Conference hosted by the University of Macerata, Italy, now postponed until October, she and her colleagues hosted online workshops this month to continue their work of educating others about disability and inclusion. Perry adds, "Even though my Italian colleagues postponed the conference, they still held a web conference and were in great spirits! Because they have been locked down for some time, it gave me hope to see how much hope they have, how they have adjusted to a new temporary normal, and how they continue their work on supporting the disability community.”

Associate Professor Michael Sulkowski offered suggestions for ways parents can cope with life during COVID-19 in this podcast (go to 12:45 minutes to hear).
Redshirt-senior sprinter and an All-American on the track, Tatum Waggoner, a College of Education student studying special education, is also a star in the classroom and a dedicated volunteer in the community. Waggoner, featured in this story out of Arizona Athletics, has been involved in various projects and volunteered with several organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, Love of Reading, and the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, to name a few. 

Jenny Lee headshot
Educational Policy Studies & Practice

Professor Jenny Lee, along with doctoral student Hillary Vance, graduate Sowmya Ghosh ’19, and former visiting Fulbright Scholar Bjorn Stensaker, wrote Global Rankings at a Local Cost? The Strategic Pursuit of Status and the Third Mission for Comparative Education.

Educational Psychology

Doctoral student Rebecca Friesen was interviewed for this article offering tips for first-time, home-school teachers.

Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies

Undergraduate student Tony Viola, a first-generation college student, is the recipient of the Robie Gold Medal. A member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, he served tribal communities throughout his academic career in roles as an Engaging Native Boys intern, Indigenous Intellectual Warrior, founding member of VOICE, and Native SOAR mentor with a focus on engaging and supporting Indigenous youth in education, environmental stewardship, tribal lifeways, and higher education.

We'll have many more updates for you next month. Wishing you all good health,

Bruce Johnson
Message from Development

I know this is a challenging time for all and hope you and your families are in good health. While dealing with issues related to COVID-19, many students are struggling to meet their basic living expenses. Fortunately, the university started the Arizona Student Emergency Fund to provide funding for the emergent needs of students. This fund allows us to act quickly to help students, right now and in the future.

Additionally, the Campus Pantry is still serving students who remain in the residence halls and in Tucson. They are providing food to more than 150 students each distribution day and are committed to remaining open while restaurants are closed and grocery stores are limited on what’s available. If you are able, please consider a gift to the Arizona Student Emergency Fund or the Campus Pantry, and help us provide essential services to the students most impacted.

Now also is the perfect time to become a mentor and provide students with support and guidance during uncertain times. Apply to be a mentor in a formal mentorship program like the Wildcat Mentor Society or make yourself available for mentorship on the Bear Down Network. Stay connected to the university and alumni on the Bear Down Network and check out this great list of digital resources from the Arizona Alumni Association.

Thank you, and Bear Down.
Director of Development & Alumni Relations
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College of Education
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