MAY 2020
COE building with FORWARD artwork on top
Nothing stands in our way!
We won’t let anything stand in the way of celebrating our students with a convocation for their years of hard work or honoring our end-of-the-year award recipients.

Things may be a little different this year, but we found a way to hold convocation and the awards ceremony, and you are invited to both.

First up: You can catch our College of Education Awards Ceremony LIVE on Wednesday, May 13, at 3:30 p.m. on our website.

Next: Tune in to watch our virtual College of Education Convocation LIVE on our website on Friday, May 15, at 2 p.m.

We're especially proud to offer our special ceremonies in this alternative format.

border wall
Generous NSF grant addresses STEM achievement gap on the border

We're excited to announce a new $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation that allows us to embark on a fellowship program for middle and high school teachers along the U.S.-Mexico border to address the achievement gap in STEM education for their students.

The Noyce Border Fellowship Program will give 14 exemplary STEM teachers $11,000 a year – plus space and training – for up to five years to build curricula for teaching in the field at two sites in Cochise County. Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies Professor Etta Kralovec, the principal investigator for the grant, has studied teacher preparedness in border communities for more than two decades.

Sierra Vista's Herald Review reported on the new program in this story.
College of Education students, faculty, and local STEM teachers at a reclamation site owned by the Freeport-McMoRan mining company. The site will become one of two STEM learning field stations in Cochise County as part of the Noyce Border Fellowship Program.

faculty staff teachers on reclamation site
first microcampus in latin america
University launches unprecedented global campus

The University of Arizona is now the world’s largest global university by reach, without a close competitor. There are more than 130 locations around the world in 34 countries with 36 partner universities. Out of 22 graduate degrees, the College of Education has five. We also offer two undergraduate degrees in the global campus.

chavarria making packs
Never doubt the ingenuity of our faculty, staff, and students especially during a pandemic

Yes, we had to switch things up a bit, but we are still here for our community. Let’s begin:


This program — a partnership with the University of Arizona School of Anthropology and the National Park Service — was designed for in-person collaboration and exploration with Tucson-area high school students. We have maintained engagement through Zoom meetings and DigVentures, an online excavation program. Students are learning about an excavation site in England while applying comparative activities to the Southwest.

With cancellations of all in-person activities for the project, we were left with an abundance of snacks and food that were purchased for the lab days and camping and field trips planned for March through June. To avoid letting the food go to waste, team members delivered (in separate cars!) food, school supplies, archaeology books, and games to the high school students in the program. Assistant Dean of Research Sara Chavarria (above) may still be making packs, for all we know!
collecting household items for science project
How does light travel through water? TLS graduate student Judy Cooper-Wagoner designed and led this session via Zoom. Here, she asked her grandson Tristain to hold up the materials students would need to gather in their own houses for the lesson. Once all the students gathered their materials, Cooper-Wagoner led them through the investigation. 
When schools transitioned to distance learning, we wanted to reach out to schools and families to offer free resources for learning from home. Associate Professor (about to be a full professor!) Kristin Gunckel, who spearheaded Zoom with a Wildcat, knew there were plenty of talented people in the college who would be eager to volunteer.

“We developed the idea of offering interactive online activity sessions that teachers and parents could use to supplement the distance learning options that schools could offer.
While online tutoring and homework help was available elsewhere, few organizations could provide support for children with exceptional needs. And no one was offering interactive science activities," Gunckel said.

The result? Eighteen volunteers — college staff, faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and tech support — impacted nearly 100 students to offer about 150 sessions across four weeks in reading, writing, homework help (including for students with exceptional needs), science, movement activities, and parental support.

“The science sessions were especially popular, I think because no one else was doing that kind of interactive session,” Gunckel said.

Some of the feedback included:
  • "My parents loved it."
  • "Can't wait until next week."
  • "What a great idea."
  • "Sam Hughes parents said it was fantastic." 
  • "UA is really working to support online learning."
  • "It was awesome."

Gunckel added, “This truly was a full College of Education effort. Many thanks to Marcela Kepic who volunteered to host many sessions; Toni Sparks for heading up DPS contributions; Michelle Silvers for creating tutorials on how to conduct reading activities; Mike Griffith, Andie Rodriguez, Leticia Varela, and Ana Luisa Terrazas for tech support; Roxanna Rivera Pelton who reached out to numerous school district principals and teachers; and all of the other volunteers who hosted sessions.”


There is no better time to investigate online degrees than right now. Our Department of Educational Policy Studies & Practice now offers two degrees fully online:
Contact Adriana Miramontez for more information.


Faculty members from our Department of Educational Policy Studies & Practice created this video to congratulate and offer words of encouragement to the graduating high school seniors of Sunnyside Unified School District.

Watch the video below.

To support parents in helping their children during these stressful times, four of our school psychology doctoral students — under the supervision of Jennifer Cárdenas, a school psychologist at Sunnyside Unified School District — created this video resource for parents in both English and Spanish. Special thanks to our enthusiastic school psychology students Hongyi Wang, Stihlyn Chamberlain, Melina Islas, and César Villalobos for creating such a thoughtful video. We are proud!

trec logo
In response to the pandemic and rapidly changing needs of teachers, the college's Tucson Regional Educator Collaborative redesigned its in-person Social Emotional Learning Summit (originally scheduled for June 6) into a free month-long webinar series held each Tuesday in May. (If you are unable to attend, recordings are available.)

To support teachers and respond to their current needs, the series focused on a variety of topics like teachers’ management of stress, well-being, and self-care, supporting student well-being, social emotional learning, and trauma-informed classrooms.

In June, TREC will kick off a year-long book study on Onward—Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators by Elena Aguilar.

School Psychology Assistant Professor of Practice Marsha Spencer offered a free webinar series to help school psychologists, administrators, and related professionals identify helpful resources. The series kicked off on April 21, with a general overview of telepractice resources and Arizona parameters. Throughout the weeks, topics ranged from supporting teachers and parents to resources for coping with anxiety and grief. The last webinar, held May 12, talked about planning for fall.

children looking at cactus
It’s challenging not to go to some of our favorite College of Education hangouts. Luckily, we now have virtual tours!

Last on our list is the resourcefulness of our Paul L. Lindsey Interns.

Normally, at the end of the spring semester, the college has celebrated and showcased the work of the Paul L. Lindsey (left) Interns. The internship program offers opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students in education who want to explore career options outside the traditional classroom setting.

Despite not being able to intern in person, these interns managed to make unique and impactful experiences working with their assigned organizations.

We want to recognize these amazing interns:

Laurie Sheldon - AAUW
Jacqueline Mullins - Imago Dei
Michelle Silvers - Cooper Center
Caroline Champagne - Paulo Freire Freedom School
Victoria Thomas - Boys & Girls Club Holmes Tuttle Clubhouse
Monika Cabrera - Inspiring Connections Outdoors
Andrew Stocker - Ironwood Tree Experience
Kristin Wook - Girls on the Run of Tucson
Micah Rider - Boys & Girls Club Frank & Edith Morton Clubhouse
Erin Allen - Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona
Osmin Constanza - Tucson Village Farm
Tyler Hull - Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Lukas Vanlandingham - Reid Park Zoo
It's awards time!
image of generic award
We salute our stellar award recipients with these honors:

College of Education Awards

Outstanding Senior

Outstanding Graduate Student

Disability & Psychoeducational Studies Awards

Anna Grace Martin
Outstanding Senior, Deaf Studies

Kameryn Clark
Outstanding Senior, Rehabilitation Studies and Services

Maya Fukutomi
Outstanding Student Teacher, Mild to Moderate Disabilities

Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies Awards

Joseph Sturm
Outstanding Senior, Literacy, Learning & Leadership

Siena Garcia
Outstanding Student Teacher, Elementary Education

Michael Tulchinsky
Outstanding Student Teacher, Elementary Education

Madeline Schepper
Outstanding Student Teacher, Early Childhood Education

Chelsea Andrews
Outstanding Student Teacher, Teach Arizona

Kyle Avvakumovits
Outstanding Student Teacher, Teach Arizona


Assistant Professor of Practice Jennifer White, Disability & Psychoeducational Studies
College of Education Outstanding Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Award

Assistant Professor Valerie Shirley, Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies
Maria Urquides Laureate Award

Professor Mary Carol Combs, Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies
Erasmus Circle Fellow

Assistant Professor Z Nicolazzo, Educational Policy Studies & Practice
Erasmus Circle Fellow


For the first time, the Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board is proud to announce the winners of the college’s Educators of the Year Award. Congratulations to the following faculty members who were nominated and selected by students for this honor.

Assistant Professor of Practice Toni Sparks
Mild to Moderate Disabilities

Senior Lecturer Leslie Decker
Deaf Studies

Director of Field Experiences Maggie Shafer
Elementary Education

Assistant Professor William Smith
Literacy, Learning & Leadership

Adjunct Instructor Paul Ohm
Early Childhood Education

ua zoom background
Share your Wildcat spirit with these Zoom backgrounds!

Tired of the same old, same old Zoom background?

Now you can use a beautiful campus background with these options.

colorful letters spelling the word people
Dean's Office

As state education leaders are devising guidelines to safely reopen schools, Associate Dean Francesca López spoke to Arizona 360 about being prepared for a new way of learning.

Disability & Psychoeducational Studies

Research performed by several people with connections to our DPS department is included in the citations of the latest report by the National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practice:

Reeves, L. M., Umbreit, J., Ferro, J. B., & Liaupsin, C. J. (2013). Function-based intervention to support the inclusion of students with autism.
Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 48(3), 379-391.

Reeves, L. M., Umbreit, J., Ferro, J. B., & Liaupsin, C. J. (2017). The role of the replacement behavior in function-based intervention. Education and
Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 52(3), 305-316.

Gann, C. J., Ferro, J. B., Umbreit, J., & Liaupsin, C. J. (2014). Effects of a comprehensive function-based intervention applied across multiple educational settings. Remedial and Special Education, 35(1), 50-60.

Professor and Department Head Carl Liaupsin notes, “It’s really gratifying to be part of the process of demonstrating empirically what is effective for children with autism, and I’m grateful to our contributors. John Umbreit is a professor emeritus in our college and continues to work as a project director. Jolenea Ferro was a faculty member at our college and is now an associate professor for University of South Florida. Linda M. Reeves ’14 was a doctoral student at the time of the article. She is now an assistant professor of special education at the University of Alabama. Candace Gann ’14 also was a doctoral student when the article was published. She is now an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma.”
Associate Professor Todd Fletcher, the founder of the nonprofit Resplandor International, a cultural and educational center in central Mexico in the state of Guanajuato focused on education and development, is retiring and has been named Associate Professor Emeritus. According to Department Head Carl Liaupsin, Fletcher “has reached out around the world to create unique opportunities that help our students understand the importance of a global perspective on education.”

martin playing volleyball
Student Makenna Martin in our Mild to Moderate Disabilities Program (accelerated master's degree) is not only an athlete, she’s also a student teacher in Project FOCUS.

Associate Professor of Practice Cindy Volk is retiring this month after 34 years of service to the College of Education and has been named Associate Professor of Practice Emerita. As the project director of the college’s Educational Interpreting Program, she worked tirelessly for the program to receive the United States Department of Education-Office of Special Education Program Grant, finally approved in 2019 after nearly 20 years. This grant supports current and future students and will be instrumental in satisfying the high demand for educational interpreters across the country. Department Head Carl Liaupsin adds, “Across the years, she has built an incredible program here and engaged in local, national, and global outreach projects that have had positive impacts on countless students and community members.”
Jenny Lee headshot
Educational Policy Studies & Practice

Professor Jenny Lee was featured in this article on the finger-pointing between officials in the U.S. and China about the pandemic, which belies cooperation among scientists in the two countries who are racing to understand the deadly virus.

Additionally, Lee and Vice Provost of Global Affairs Brent White wrote this piece for University World News about the future of international higher education in a post-mobility world.
casondra martinez
Alumna Casondra Martinez ’06, who graduates on Friday with a master’s degree in educational leadership, is the recipient of the Arizona School Administrators Outstanding Master's Student in Educational Leadership for the University of Arizona. ASA — part of the Association of Professors of Educational Leadership — will present the award next spring since this year’s conference was canceled. Martinez, who earned her first master’s degree in special education and rehabilitation from our college in 2006, is a cross-categorical services educator at Roskruge Bilingual K-8.
Professor John Taylor, who was dean of the college from 1991-2002 and is retiring this month, has been named Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus. According to Department Head Gary Rhoades, Taylor “made fundamental contributions to the vitality, strength, and quality of the college that have had enduring influence, including establishing closer ties with the community, partly through the creation of the Professional Preparation Board, enhanced fundraising leading to the creation of endowed professorships, and the development of the Educational Leadership Program.
Congratulations are in order for soon-to-be:
Educational Psychology

Congratulations are in order for soon-to-be:
Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies

Professor Renée Clift, whose research investigates factors that affect the process of learning to teach, including preservice learning, continuing professional development, and educational leadership, is retiring this month and has been named Professor Emerita. Department Head Marcy Wood adds that Clift “has been a source of regular guidance and insight as I have moved into administrative roles. We will miss her creative and inspirational solutions to a wide variety of problems and her ready support for graduate students and faculty.”
Professor Katherine Carter, whose scholarly inquiry in teaching, learning, and narrative methods spans a 25-year period, is retiring this month and has been named Professor Emerita. Department Head Marcy Wood has known Carter since she arrived in 2008 and says, “She has been a long-term mentor, inspiration, and support as I navigated through academia. I will miss our hallway conversations including shared stories of baby birds and discussions of LGTBQ in teacher education."

Wood adds, “We will miss the leadership and wisdom of both of these outstanding and internationally recognized teacher educators. We wish them all the best as they venture into the Professor Emerita phase of their academic careers – one that involves even less contact with campus (if that is even possible these days) and more time with family and friends.”
Congratulations are in order for soon-to-be:
Alberto Arenas
Sanlyn Buxner headshot
sheila nicholas
crystal soltero
Marcy Wood
Alumna Lori Riegel ’96 earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachussetts. She was enrolled in a joint program with Hebrew College, where she earned a certificate in Jewish education. Five years ago, Riegel also received a master’s degree in Jewish education with a certificate in special education at Hebrew College. She is the Southern Arizona development director at Arizona’s Children Association and always has been interested in challenges facing smaller Jewish communities.
As things unfold this summer regarding the fall semester, we will be in touch with a special edition of this newsletter. If you have anything you’d like to discuss with me about the College of Education and how we are continuing our work during these uncertain times, please contact me.

Bruce Johnson
Message from Development

Thank you
This week, we are celebrating the accomplishments of our graduating students. Many of our students could not have completed their education without the generous support of our alumni and donors. Whether you have volunteered your time or made a gift, please know that our students, staff, and faculty appreciate you!

And, thank you to those of you who contributed to the Fuel the Response Emergency Fund for students. More than $500,000 has been raised to address the emergent financial needs of Wildcat students.

We are looking forward to the day students return to campus. Many will need more support than ever as they face additional financial constraints. If you are in a position to help our students, please learn how you can make a difference.

Thank you for your loyalty and support!
Director of Development & Alumni Relations
We want to hear from you! Send your news to  [email protected] .
College of Education
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