APRIL 2021
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland
Native Americans Changing the World
(Hint: One is right here in the College of Education!)
We’ve always known American Indian Language Development Institute Project Coordinator Alyce Sadongei in our Department of Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies was a source of strength and energy.

An archiving and preservation career led her to a leadership role at the Smithsonian Institution, where she became the first Native American to serve as director of the American Indian Museums Study program.

Sadongei now leads the University of Arizona and six other institutions in digitizing more than 6,500 recordings of Native American oral histories. The wealth of information, from tribal council meetings to people simply telling their stories, will be better preserved and searchable for the next generation.

KJZZ, Phoenix’s public radio station, interviewed Sadongei for this story.

But something we didn’t know was that the ever-humble Sadongei was just named to OZY Media’s list of Native Americans Changing the World, alongside newly appointed U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

Alyce Sadongei, thank you for giving us another reason to be proud of the College of Education!
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Digital innovation needed now more than ever

If the last year has taught us anything about life in the classroom, it’s that the need for digital innovation has never been greater. Many educators did not feel adequately prepared to use digital tools and navigate the complexities of teaching online. And, sadly, many students in underserved, rural, and Indigenous communities did not have the needed access or digital skills to fully participate in online education.

These are just some of the reasons we are developing the Digital Innovation and Learning Lab (DIALL), which adopts a community-based approach to explore how digital literacies can transform teaching and learning and extend research opportunities. DIALL will offer open-access hours and will design hands-on professional learning opportunities for teachers, educators, students, and community members.

You are invited to join us Tuesday, April 27, 5:30-6:30, to learn more about DIALL with faculty members Associate Professor Jill Castek and Associate Professor Blaine Smith as they discuss their vision for DIALL.

Castek, co-director of DIALL, says, “DIALL will serve as a cutting-edge instructional space to build community and explore creative possibilities for expanding literacy and learning.
Renovations on the first floor of the College of Education building have already begun for DIALL with a vision for expanding innovative possibilities. The podcasting bay extends digital storytelling with soundscapes. Imagine teachers using interactive, multi-media approaches to amplify learners’ digital creativity."

DIALL co-director Smith adds, “DIALL is everyone’s space. If you have a project that could be enhanced by dynamic and hands-on, digital literacies extensions, DIALL is a place where you can bring your vision alive.”

Register today! Free and open to the public.
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closeup of two young children writing
How a year of online learning has affected students

Speaking of lessons learned during the pandemic, three of our faculty members were consulted for this UA News article on whether the pandemic has meant an entire year has been lost for K-12 students. Dean Emeritus and Professor Ron Marx, Associate Dean and Professor Iliana Reyes, and Assistant Professor of Practice Rebecca Hartzell discuss how a year of online learning and social distance has affected different students in different ways.
Join us for the third panel in our new Uncharted series

Uncharted Terrain:
Equity & Education
Tuesday, April 20
4–5 p.m.

Learn about the experiences and perspectives of early childhood educators as they share what their work is like in these shifting times, especially as related to diverse values, culture, equity, and beliefs.

Our College of Education panel
Associate Professor Nolan Cabrera, Educational Policy Studies & Practice
Professor Mary Carol Combs, Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies
Associate Professor Rick Orozco, Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies
Assistant Professor Adai Tefera, Disability and Psychoeducational Studies
Moderator: Robin Hiller, Education Policy Center

Register today! Free and open to the public.
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Leading a new collaborative community

The College of Education is leading the development of a new collaborative community, the Tucson Regional Educator Collaborative (TREC), to support professional learning opportunities for the region’s birth through 12th-grade educators. TREC is accomplishing this through leveraging the region’s existing resources and creating new opportunities.

To cultivate a thriving teaching profession, we are collaborating with nine regional school districts, several charter schools, and more than 20 community organizations and governmental agencies. Based on a 10-month assessment and planning phase, we identified key efforts, such as developing a website to connect educators to the region’s resources, supporting teacher-leaders, and offering social-emotional learning professional development.

Ahead of TREC’s official launch in July, we received funding from several local funders: Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, Lester L. and Roberta D. Smith Endowed Chair for Prevention and Education, and American Association of University Women, Tucson Branch. Added to this is a $300,000, 2.5-year community-investment grant from the Helios Education Foundation to help TREC bring together additional resources and partners to support these efforts.

“No single entity can do it all,” says TREC Director Jen Kinser-Traut. “This is why we have built the collaborative to support innovative ideas that go beyond individual district or school professional learning efforts.”

The grant from Helios allows TREC to expand its focus and emphasis on early childhood education, as TREC works to improve access to and the quality of professional learning for these educators. Kinser-Traut adds, “Ultimately, we want to increase teacher retention in the region. These grants give us the opportunity to work toward this.”

Learn more! Sign up for the TREC monthly newsletter.
Join us for TREC webinar featuring alumna Gabriella Cázares-Kelly

While we are on the subject of TREC and its far-reaching impact, you are invited to a free webinar Tuesday, April 20 at 4:15 p.m., featuring college alumna Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, who made history as the first Indigenous woman to hold an elective office in Pima County when she was elected to the Pima County Recorder's Office. The webinar will focus on the perseverance and successes of educators throughout this year of changes. 

Register today! Free and open to the public.
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A student's AILDI experience resulted in a bright idea that turned into an international workshop!

Tatiana Degai, who was a student in our Department of Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies American Indian Language Development Institute, had wondered how she could get AILDI to offer a workshop or courses in her home country of Russia.

As a result of her idea, AILDI partnered with the Arctic, Remote, and Cold Territories Interdisciplinary Center at the University of Northern Iowa to offer a virtual workshop in March on the Master Apprentice Method of language immersion. The workshop targeted Indigenous language teachers and learners in Russia and was led by Kumeyaay Community College Instructor Stan Rodriguez (Kumeyaay – Iipay, Santa Ysabel). He has delivered the Master Apprentice Method to numerous tribal communities throughout the United States.

Approximately 29 people registered and represented Indigenous language groups from: Koryak and Itelmen from Kamchatka (Pacific coast, and represented in the illustration above), Selkup from Tomsk area (Central Siberia), Kumandin from Altai, Udege from Primorski Region (Pacific Coast), Even, Evenk, Yukagir, and Sakha from Yakutia. 

AILDI Director Ofelia Zepeda says, “The concerns and challenges facing the Indigenous language learners and teachers in Russia are very similar to what Native people in the United States are facing.”

Many of the participants expressed their own heartfelt desire to honor their heritage languages by learning or making a commitment to use their languages more in their communities. AILDI Project Coordinator Alyce Sadongei adds, “It was quite an experience that actually felt unifying, and some of the comments that the participants shared brought us to tears. We were honored to have shared time with the Indigenous participants from Russia and we look forward to staying in touch with them.”
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Pathways keep multiplying

We’re looking for future educators in Cochise County!

Our Pathways to Teaching program is growing — and then some! Through the program, school districts invest in community members to become future educators for local schools. Pathways began with a College of Education partnership with Sunnyside School District, and has been so successful that it has expanded into these rural areas:

Altar Valley School District
Casa Grande Elementary School District
Douglas Unified School District
Nogales Unified School
Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District

We are now recruiting for teacher candidates in Cochise County for the spring 2022 Pathways to Teaching program. Tuition is covered through the Arizona Teacher Academy, which provides a $1,000 monthly stipend while students train in district classrooms. 

Contact Maria Orozco to learn more.
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Win-win situation 

Each year, the university's Graduate College recognizes two faculty members from across the university with the Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award. It just so happens both awardees are from our college this year!

Please send congratulations to Professor Mary Carol Combs and Associate Professor Desireé Vega who were honored for exceling in their teaching and mentoring of graduate and professional students. Awardees receive a cash award, a medallion, and plaque and are honored during the Awards of Distinction Reception and Ceremony.

Past awardees are Professor Emerita Yetta Goodman (2001) and Professor Emerita Patty Anders (2006). 
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First of its kind in the U.S.!

The college’s intellectual hub in the rural borderlands of Southern Arizona

The college is an international leader in research that explores the educational impacts of border life, yet often that research does not get to the communities that would benefit.

Our Borderlands Education Center, led by Professor Etta Kralovec, is an intellectual hub in the rural borderlands of Southern Arizona, expanding learning and research opportunities for border teachers and communities. This is the first education center of its kind in the United States.

The center provides a structure for ongoing programming that brings University of Arizona scholars to rural Cochise County, sharing their expertise with rural border communities — enhancing the visibility, impact, and public benefit of Arizona research.

The center ensures existing and potential external partners in Cochise County, honoring the university’s commitment to Cochise County. The center recently received funding from the university’s Spring 2021 Provost's Investment Fund to expand its reach.

Kralovec notes, “Support for graduate students who are interested in border research is a high priority for us. Often my students who have crossed the border to come to school as children are drawn to that topic for their research papers in my class. Many of these students have expressed an interest in going on for a Ph.D, so in all the grant proposals we have submitted for the center, we include funding for graduate students.” 
Steve and Nancy Lynn:
Erasmus Circle Outstanding Achievement in Education

This year’s Erasmus Circle Outstanding Achievement in Education Award goes to Steve and Nancy Lynn, who both graduated from the college 1968. Nancy Lynn worked as a guidance counselor at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson. Steve Lynn’s career includes working for the City of Tucson to CEO and owner-partner of Nordensson Lynn & Associates. He is now the principal of Steve Lynn Consulting. He is a longtime activist for education, serving on many community boards including the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board of First Things First. In 2009, he received a Doctor of Letters degree from the College of Education and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The Lynns also created the Nancy K. & Steven W. Lynn Scholarship Endowment in the College of Education to support graduate students interested in pursuing a specialization in school counseling.

Thank you to the Lynns for their support and advocacy of education!
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Disability & Psychoeducational Studies

Department Head and Professor Carl Liaupsin was elected to the University of Arizona Heads Up Steering Committee.

Photo of Renae Mayes with a burnt red background. She is wearing a yellow blouse and a pretty red and purple scarf.
Associate Professor Renae D. Mayes was the keynote speaker for two conferences last month: Breakthroughs in Twice-Exceptional Education Conference, focusing on how school counselors can use data to inform antiracist comprehensive school counseling while disrupting and dismantling harmful school policies and practices, and the Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference, where she presented strategies to fund research agenda alongside school counseling colleagues. 
Associate Professor Michelle Perfect spoke to KGUN 9, Tucson’s ABC affiliate, for this story about “coronasomnia,” the inability to sleep due to pandemic stress.
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Assistant Professor of Practice Vanessa Perry held a one-hour virtual workshop – provided with simultaneous Italian-English interpretation – about fostering self-determination and self-advocacy of transition-age youth with disabilities for the University of Macerata (Italy) during its annual inclusion conference, Unimc for Inclusion. She presented with Daniela Maya, who will join the counselor education and supervision doctoral program in August.
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Educational Policy
Studies & Practice

Professor Jenny Lee is the new vice president-elect of American Educational Research Association's Division J: Postsecondary Education.
Associate Professor Z Nicolazzo is the co-author of Trans Youth Are Under Attack. Educators Must Step Up in Education Week.
gary rhoades
Professor Gary Rhoades was quoted in the Columbia Spectator about graduate students who are now facing the reality of working hard during a pandemic with little future pay-off.

Photo of Katherine Cheng standing in front of trees and a handrail. She is wearing a purple blouse smiling and looking to the left.
Educational Psychology

Assistant Research Professor Katherine Cheng was recently awarded a Spencer Foundation Small Research Grant, along with her colleague Matthew Graham of the University of Oregon, for their project on examining the relationship between pre-service teachers’ implicit racial biases and cortisol response.
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Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies

Alumna Haley Booth Carolin ’14, a third-grade teacher at Keeling Elementary School in the Amphitheater School District, earned the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona’s 2021 Literacy Champion Award. She was chosen out of 24 teachers whom community members, school administrators, principals, and parents nominated for this year’s awards.
Associate Professor Cindy Cruz is the recipient of the Body of Work Award from American Educational Research Association's Queer Studies SIG.

Alumnus and Semillas del Pueblo Outreach Coordinator Jesus Jaime-Diaz (seen at Tucson's El Tiradito Wishing Shrine above) is the co-author of a chapter, A Guide for Deconstructing Social Reproduction: Pedagogical Conocimientos within the Context of Teacher Preparation, in the new book, Teacher Education in the 21st Century — Emerging Skills for a Changing World. His co-author is University of Texas at San Antonio Professor Emerita Josie Méndez-Negrete. She was Jaime-Diaz’ doctoral advisor when he began his doctoral studies journey, which he completed at the University of Arizona in 2018.

Alumnus and Wildcat Ring of Honor honoree Ernie McCray shared his thoughts on the Wildcats NCAA Championship game, a season he says will forever be etched in his memory, in this article he wrote for the Ocean Beach Rag.

Doctoral student James McKenzie is the awardee of the 2021 Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The three-year award provides $27,000 each year.
Aubrey Neihaus was awarded the 2021 Distinguished Dissertation Award from the Kansas Association of Teacher Educators.

Alumnus and friend of the college Jose Olivas ’87, who is the much-admired principal at Davis Bilingual Elementary Magnet School, was featured in this story on KVOA, Tucson’s NBC affiliate, about the battle for his life against COVID-19. We are relieved to hear he is on the road to recovery.

Thirteen second-year students in our master’s program in secondary education are about to have their reflections of teaching during COVID-19 published in the spring issue of the journal, Schools: Studies in Education, a University of Chicago publication.
Student Spotlight
In our last Message from the Dean, we told you about Samantha Thomas, who is the first student at the University of Arizona to be honored with the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. She also happens to be a student in our master’s program in educational leadership. And, of course, we all now know she is part of the spectacular Wildcats NCAA Championship game. We recently spent some time getting to know Samantha Thomas a little better.

Name: Samantha Thomas
Expected graduation: May 2022
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Sport: Women's Basketball

You were just named the Women’s Basketball Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. How do you balance your commitments as both a student and an athlete?
I am thankful enough to have a wonderful support system in C.A.T.S Academics. They offer tutoring, study halls, and academic counselors. I am able to focus on my schoolwork and get it done early. That way, when it comes to game time, I can focus on the task at hand.

What is your favorite part about being an Arizona Wildcat?
My favorite part about being an Arizona Wildcat is being surrounded by the Tucson community. The fans here are dedicated and make us feel like one big family.

What made you want to pursue a master’s degree in educational leadership?
I want to be a coach one day and help inspire young girls to pursue their basketball dreams.

What advice do you have for students just getting started in college?
College is only as hard as you make it. If you stay on top of your schoolwork and work hard, you will succeed in college.

What are your post-graduation plans as of now?
I plan on playing basketball as long as possible. After basketball, I hope to one day work for Nike since the company has been a big part of my life.
Until next time,

Bruce Johnson
Message from Development

You can make a difference for our students!

The importance of the work our students, faculty, staff, and alumni do has never been more apparent than during the pandemic as we saw families struggling to make sure their children had access to education while schools were closed.

Many of our students struggle to support themselves as they pursue their education, especially for our student teachers who work full time in the classroom while taking a full load of classes making it nearly impossible to work a part-time job.

You can make dreams come true with a gift to our existing scholarships, or by creating your own legacy. Please contact me if you would like to learn more about supporting our scholarship program.

With your help, students can receive much-needed support so funding is not a barrier to pursuing their education.

Thank you for your consideration of investing in our students!
Lee O’Rourke
Director of Development & Alumni Relations
We want to hear from you! Send your news to
College of Education
1430 E. Second Street | P.O. Box 210069 | Tucson, Arizona 85721 | 520-621-1461