October 2019
wilma with little boy_photo by UA Alumni Association
We're celebrating our newest
partnerships with PK-12 !
The college has always valued our work with our PK-12 districts and schools as one of our central missions, and now we’re excited to announce our newest partnerships with PK-12 schools.

Talk It Out
Funding for more counselors is an issue at the forefront of discussions about how to help PK-12 schools in Arizona. The latest data put Arizona last in the nation for the counselor-to-student ratio, with one counselor for every 900 students on average.

Our Talk it Out counseling program was created in partnership with the Tucson Unified School District Family Resource Centers to provide free and timely mental health services to students and families in the community who might otherwise encounter significant barriers to access. Under supervision, our master’s level counselors in training provide individual, group, and family counseling free of charge to TUSD-enrolled students and their families, with no insurance required. To our knowledge, no other program or organization provides a similar service in the greater Tucson area.

Education Policy Center
Because we work to help PK-20 education become more equitable and just, we created the Education Policy Center. A key resource for policymakers, the center informs the public and policymakers in Arizona by sharing education policy research with the community. We are the only university-based center in the state dedicated to policy issues of PK-20 education. 

Tucson Regional Educator Collaborative
It’s no secret that teaching in Arizona is challenging, and that’s why the UA College of Education plus nine school districts, several charter schools, and 10-plus community organizations and government agencies are building Tucson Regional Educator Collaborative (TREC), a centralized network for professional learning for teachers. TREC will be officially introduced tomorrow at the TENWEST Impact Festival, so we don’t want to spill all the secrets quite yet. We’ll provide more details next time!

Pathways to Teaching
Pathways to Teaching, an innovative teacher-preparation program that invests in future educators for local schools, is a collaboration between the college and Sunnyside Unified School District. Pathways supports Tucson-area residents who have a relationship with Sunnyside in earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an ESL endorsement.

Participants receive both a tuition scholarship and a stipend. UA classes will be held at SUSD school sites, and students will receive hands-on experience with an experienced SUSD teacher. Classes begin next semester. Completion is 17 months (spring, summer, fall, and spring).

Semillas del Pueblo and EachONE/TeachONE
We’re also working on two additional “grow your own” programs for teachers:

Semillas del Pueblo —just getting off the ground — is for teachers within Sunnyside and TUSD who want to get a master’s degree in education. 

EachONE/TeachONE is a year-long program in which 10-15 TUSD high school students meet once a week for 90 minutes to learn how to develop and implement a lesson plan in an elementary school. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a certificate of achievement from the UA. 

Not only are we celebrating our newest PK-12 partnerships, we’re also gearing up for Homecoming! Read on.

banners spelling out wildcats
It’s time for HOMECOMING!
Tradition, Pride, Spirit
October 31 – November 2

Join fellow alumni for a tour to see what’s new in the college, such as our state-of-the-art production studio and the Digital Innovation and Learning Lab. Celebrate at the Wine Harvest Homecoming Reception, an evening of selected wines and hors d'oeuvres in honor of our Alumna of the Year, Laura N. Banks-Reed, Ph.D., '43 '66 '70 '81, and the Class of 1969 for their 50th class reunion. The event ends just in time for the bonfire! All College of Education alumni and friends are invited to attend at no charge.
We also hope to see you at our Alumni Tent on the Mall on Saturday. Reconnect with fellow alumni, watch the parade, get “tattoos” for the kids, and spin the prize wheel for all alumni!

Everything you need to know is right here!

Alumna of the Year:
Laura Nobles Banks-Reed

Many of you surely will know our Alumna of the Year, Laura Nobles Banks-Reed, Ph.D., ’43 ’66 ’70 ’81, who was born and raised in Tucson, and earned four degrees from our college. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in physical education and elementary education in 1943 and a master’s degree in elementary education in 1966, she was the first person at Arizona to receive an educational specialist degree in educational administration in 1970. She received a doctorate in educational administration in 1981. Dedicated to education, she was a TUSD teacher, principal, and coordinator of reading programs.

In 1980, she became the first African American assistant superintendent in TUSD. In 2003, TUSD named a school in her honor, the Laura Nobles Banks Elementary School. For 43 years, Banks-Reed and her late husband, Jack Banks, owned and operated Jack’s Original Barbecue, an iconic Tucson favorite. An amazing representative of the caliber of our graduates, Banks-Reed is true to the UA spirit and dedicated to a life of advocating for education and community.

Come celebrate our remarkable alumna at the Alumni of the Year Awards in the Student Union Grand Ballroom on Thursday, October 31, 2 - 5 p.m. More about the ceremony.

johnson_waite_robbins at cooper
Getting to know you

UA President Robbins took a tour of the stunning desert in the slopes of the Tucson Mountains that we know and love as the Cooper Center for Environmental Learning.
Dean Bruce Johnson and Cooper Center Director Colin Waite welcomed Robbins to highlight the center's programs and talk about their impact on sustainability and the environment, the UA, and the local community.

TUSD Assistant Superintendent Brian Lambert, Cooper Campus Team Coordinator Deanna Kulbeth, and Director of the UA Office of Sustainability Trevor Ledbetter also joined the group.

Waite shared Cooper’s history and the strong partnership between the college and TUSD. President Robbins expressed his enthusiasm in knowing that the university and the college are doing such important work with the schools of Southern Arizona.

Jane Mayer:
 The countdown begins

Friday, November 8
4-5 p.m., including 15 minutes of Q&A
Tucson, Arizona 85705

You don’t want to miss meeting investigative reporter and author Jane Mayer, and it’s less than a month away!

Mayer will speak about her book, Dark Money — a national bestseller and one of The New York Times 10 best books of the year — in which she details the various forces that have informed education policies. She provides vivid portraits of the secretive figures behind the new American oligarchy and a searing look at the carefully concealed agendas steering the nation. She drew from hundreds of exclusive interviews, as well as extensive scrutiny of public records, private papers, and court proceedings.

For more information or media requests, contact EPC Executive Director Robin Hiller at or 520-668-4634.

RSVP is encouraged, but not required

MacFarland honored
with breakthrough award!

TASH, an international leader in disability advocacy, fights for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs — those most vulnerable to segregation, abuse, neglect, and institutionalization. 

Now that you know about TASH, you know why MacFarland so befits this award. Recognized internationally for her passion and action in pursuing inclusive education for people with significant disabilities, she is the director of our teacher preparation program in severe and multiple disabilities. MacFarland wrote and was awarded a five-year federal grant to develop a fully inclusive postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities to attend the UA. Project FOCUS (Focusing Opportunities with Community and University Support) is a pioneering post-high school option for students ages 18-22 who have intellectual disabilities and are enrolled in schools in Pima County. The program provides access to the UA's academic offerings and campus life in order to increase students’ self-determination and employability. 

The award is especially meaningful to MacFarland as Downing was a close friend and mentor. MacFarland studied under Downing here at the college for her doctorate, and she describes Downing as one of the most influential people in her life and career. Sadly, Downing passed away in 2011. 

Watch this touching nomination video from Assistant Professor of Practice Phyllis Brodsky, now with the UA Office of Instruction and Assessment. 

scattered letters to spell dyslexia
Dyslexia workshop in demand

Our Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies hosted a free informational workshop about dyslexia with the Arizona Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Large attendance at the workshop demonstrated the need for continuing to educate our community and share the latest research.

Bruce Johnson Headshot

Dean's Office

Dean and Professor Bruce Johnson was quoted in this San Tan Sun article about what the College of Education is doing to improve diversity and close the gap on racial disparity between students and teachers in Arizona.

Disability & Psychoeducational Studies

We are recognized as one of the 62 best schools with online applied behavior analysis master’s and certificate programs by Assistant Professor of Practice Rebecca Hartzell was interviewed for this story about our ABA program in the college.

Research Professor Penny Rosenblum and Professor Tina Herzberg at the University of South Carolina Upstate developed 11 on-demand short resource videos about having an academic student with a visual impairment in the general education classroom. 


Congratulations to our impressive doctoral student Kirsten R. Lansey, a technical expert with Project FOCUS, who nominated Assistant Professor Stephanie MacFarland for the TASH June Downing Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education Award. A lot of work goes into nominating someone for an award like this, and Lansey managed to oversee the process — and create this beautiful video — despite working for Project FOCUS and studying for her doctorate!

Educational Policy Studies & Practice

Cabrera’s book discusses the subtle — and not so subtle — ways that racism, perpetrated by white men, plays out on college campuses. Members from the award committee said of the book:

  • “A fresh take on understanding white perceptions of racism.” 
  • “A significant, important shift in research on diversity in higher education” and that it “transformed conceptualizations of past and ongoing cultural conflicts and constructs on campuses.”
  • “His data and analysis provided both discovery and insight into a cultural superstructure that encases postsecondary education in the U.S.”
Assistant Professor Jameson Lopez (Quechan), along with Tomás Karmelo Amaya (Yoeme, A:shiwi, Rarámuri) and Siera Begaye (Diné), released a 10-minute pilot documentary, Kwanamii: Protectors of the Quechan, which highlights Quechan veteran stories and explores the relationships among the warrior spirit, nation-building, and education.

Lopez adds, “Our hope is that this film will spark interest and potential opportunities to collaborate with tribal communities to produce similar projects about their warrior traditions. This pilot highlights that Native Americans have the highest per-capita commitment to military service than any other ethnic population to defend the United States. Through the Quechan veteran stories, we get a glimpse of the warrior spirit that runs in the blood of Quechan and the stories of fallen Quechan warriors who leave a powerful legacy to our nation. We must continue to tell these stories before they are lost.” 

For more information on the pilot, contact Lopez.
Assistant Professor Z Nicolazzo is the recipient of the 2019 ASHE-Association for the Study of Higher Education Early Career Award. ASHE notes that her accomplishments in outreach and advising as a mentor are truly exceptional, exemplifying the best of what a professor can be.

Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies

Kudos to the Bisbee Science Lab, named the Best Nonprofit of the Year Award by the Arizona Community Foundation! The college is especially excited since we offer expertise in science education and content, supporting the lab through a variety of educational outreach activities. The lab also is a site for learning more about how children and adults engage in informal science learning, making it an important science-education research location for us. In addition, Professor Etta Kralovec serves as chair of the Bisbee Science Lab Board of Directors.

The nonprofit also was featured in this video (go to 14:32 to watch) on Arizona Public Media's Arizona Illustrated.

American Indian Language Development Institute Project Coordinator Alyce Sadongei was asked to speak at the OCLC 2019 Library Futures Conference in Phoenix. She shared an important message about the role and work of tribal libraries in Arizona and across the U.S.

Learn more about the conference and Sadongei’s presentation in this piece from American Libraries Magazine.

Valerie Shirley
Assistant Professor Valerie Shirley, a codirector of our Indigenous Teacher Education Project, is providing guidance, along with other UA faculty, to help UA students who are working with people at Diné College to tackle sustainability challenges on the Navajo Nation.

Third-year doctoral student James Smith is a new National Science Foundation Cadre Fellow! Smith's research focuses on interdisciplinary approaches toward teacher education research. He is a research assistant on an NSF-funded project, Developing and Validating a Scalable, Classroom-Focused Measure of Usable Knowledge for Teaching Mathematics: The Classroom Video Analysis Instrument, with Associate Professor Nicole Kersting, the principal investigator.

The CADRE Fellows Program provides professional growth opportunities for early career researchers in STEM education. Learn more about the Cadre Fellows Program.

Literacy, learning, and leadership senior Tony Viola spoke at the UA Cares Kick-Off Celebration on behalf of the UA Arizona Assurance Program. A recipient for four years, Viola spoke about the ways in which the Arizona Assurance program and staff have supported him both financially and personally throughout his undergraduate career. He hopes more people donate and support students from low-income backgrounds in earning bachelor’s degrees.

See you in November!

Bruce Johnson
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