M E S S A G E  
F R O M  T H E  D E A N
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May 2017

ron marx
I will soon begin to pack my office in the dean's suite in advance of moving to room 613 in the College of Education, where I will return to the life of a professor. I have immensely enjoyed my 14 years as dean. Over that period, we have graduated something on the order of 10,000 students. I have shaken the hands of most of those graduates as they crossed the stage at our convocation ceremonies. 

Universities are complex places. It takes many people and resources to support the range of excellence in colleges like ours. We have a great faculty, tremendous staff, and brilliant and eager students. Our ability to move from being good to realizing true greatness often requires a special sauce of talent, vision, opportunity, and perseverance. The spice that makes that sauce so special is often the support and resources from smart and committed friends.

The dean's role is very rewarding. It provides an opportunity to create and enact a vision for what a college of education could be. In no small measure, it provides someone with energy and commitment with a laboratory and some resources to try ambitious solutions to seemingly intractable problems in education and society. These efforts, of course, are set in geographical, political, and social contexts that dull the edge of what appear to be sharply defined efforts. In reality, our theories of action crash into the world as it really is, not as we wish it to be. Without the help of our extended community of alumni and friends, those collisions of theory and reality would have been far more difficult than they were.

I step down as dean on June 30 and begin a sabbatical for the year. My wife, Anne, has decided to retire on July 1. We will take the fall to travel, visiting friends and family across the country. We will return in late fall, and I will be around for the better part of the spring, writing and engaging with my research team in advance of my return to faculty life in fall 2018.

davis, marx, likins, comrie
Attendees at a farewell party for Dean Marx included (from left) former Provost George Davis, Marx, former President Peter Likins, and Provost Andrew Comrie

hart, marx, comrie
President Ann Hart with Marx and Comrie

marx family
Marx's daughter and son flew in from Chicago and Seattle, along with their spouses and all their children

marx with grandson
Marx with his grandson, Samuel, who is holding a pillow with an illustration of his grandfather by David Fitzsimmons


grad cap winner

We all know College of Education students are more creative than most. This year, we put a challenge out to post their decorated caps on the college's social media. The winner of this year's grad-cap challenge is Holly Durr. Durr, an Honors College student, graduated with three bachelor's degrees. Durr's cap reads "officially hotter by three degrees" and uses the International Phonetic Alphabet for the word "officially" and the American Sign Language sign for three. The cap is filled with a watercolor of Arizona, where Durr was born and raised, and is surrounded by her favorite cacti. The photo was taken in our Worlds of Words collection, where Durr has worked for the last two years. For her great design skills, Durr won a pair of Beats Headphones in UA red!

Durr also was featured in a UA student employee profile, which you can read here.

Here is a sampling of the incredible entries we received:

grad cap

grad cap

grad cap

grad cap

You can see them all on our Facebook page .

As for our graduate students, the talented Tenzin Sonam, who speaks English, Hindi, and Tibetan and just graduated with a doctorate from Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies, also was featured in a UA news story, Best in Class.

Finally, Dean Marx raised a few eyebrows with his speech during convocation, which you can read here. Let us know what you think.


lily and enzio

Lily Kanefield, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in mild to moderate disabilities and was named an Outstanding Student Teacher, had quite the sendoff at John E. Wright Elementary School. Maria Elena Campos, the teacher Kanefield worked with at the school, organized the surprise farewell event, which included 140 students singing, You Are the Champion. One student also did a rap dance for her, and they all shared in birthday cupcakes at the end of the event, in honor of Kanefield's upcoming 22nd birthday.

"It was a beautiful, exciting, and emotional farewell," said Associate Professor of Practice Betty Carlson .

Kanefield, who hopes to start an eyeglasses sponsorship program one day, subsidized a pair of glasses for student Enzio Cantini, shown with Kanefield above.


Find out why Associate Professor of Practice Cindy Volk, project director of our educational interpreting program, was quoted in this story on Snoop Dogg's performance in New Orleans.


Julia and Melissa
Sahuarita Parks and Recreation's Melissa Hinkle (left) with intern Julia Bacchus

Anna and Anna
Intern Anna Kirschner (left) with Children's Clinic's Anna Pereira

Ron and Paul
Dean Marx (left) and Paul Lindsey

Alejandro and Josh
Intern Alejandro Menchaca (left) with Community Share's Josh Schacter

Paul Lindsey, the brain child behind the college's successful Paul Lindsey Internships in Education, joined us last month to honor the students who interned during the school year. Lindsey interns build leadership and management skills through real-world experiences via public outreach programs. The interns each shared a bit about their service to the Tucson community and what it has meant to them, and they had the opportunity to discuss their internship experiences with Lindsey and Dean Marx.


crowdfunding tote board
The kickoff party included a live tote board, which went from $0 to more than $6,100 before the party ended!

There are just a few days left in the Project FOCUS crowdfunding campaign, which is now at 55 percent of its $20,000 goal.

Project FOCUS is the college's innovative two-year college and career-ready transition program. We provide an opportunity for high school students with intellectual disabilities to attend college with certified staff and peer mentor support. 
Now, Project FOCUS is collaborating with six Pima County School Districts to welcome 15 new students this fall.  Just click on this link to help us give these students the tools and support they need by making a gift today!



Researchers with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization found that nearly 17 percent of the world's adult population, and 122 million youth around the world, are illiterate. To help decrease those figures, the Richard Ruiz Residency Scholar Program plans to make literacy more accessible bi-nationally through "scholARTistry," the merging of the arts and social sciences with scholar recipient Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor at the helm. She will use art, poetry, and theater to engage community members in Guanajuato, Mexico, in literacy education this summer. Read more here.


turner and nolan

turner and nolan reverse

Modeling the T-shirts that were part of a fundraising campaign for the Ronald W. Marx Community Engagement and Outreach Endowment Fund are former College of Education Advisory Board member Tom Nolan, now in Leesburg, Florida, and former College of Education Director of Development Stacey Turner. Turner also now lives in Florida and paid Nolan a visit. Here's a closeup of the image on the T-shirts, illustrated by David Fitzsimmons:


Disability & Psychoeducational Studies

A book chapter written by  Assistant Professor DesireĆ© Vega ("Where Are All the Latino Males in Gifted Programs?" in  Advances in Race and Ethnicity in Education ) was selected as an Outstanding Author Contribution in the 2017 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence. 

Educational Policy Studies & Practice

Associate Professor Nolan Cabrera's research was cited in this opinion piece on ethnic studies in the  Rio Grande Guardian .

jenny lee


The University of Arizona wants to establish more than 25 microcampuses, capable of collectively educating more than 25,000 students, at partner universities around the world. Professor Jenny Lee and Professor and Department Head Gary Rhoades were quoted in this story about microcampuses in Inside Higher Education.

amanda tachine
Alumna Amanda Tachine was named a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. Read more here.  

Educational Psychology

Dean and Professor Ron Marx is in Haifa, Israel, as part of a visiting team reviewing the faculty of education in science and technology at Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.

Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies

Rebecca Ballenger, coordinator of collections and outreach for Worlds of Words, was featured in this Wildcat article.

perry gilmore
Professor Perry Gilmore was interviewed by author Alma Gottlieb about Gilmore's book, Kisisi (Our Language): The Story of Colin and Sadiki. Read the interview here.

bruce johnson


Department Head and Professor Bruce Johnson and Educational Policy Studies & Practice Assistant Professor Kevin Henry discussed education issues, including access, diversity, and the voucher system, under the Trump administration in this article in the Wildcat.

A fond farewell,
signature of Ron Marx
Ron Marx

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