M E S S A G E  
F R O M  T H E  D E A N
COE logo
May 2018


bruce johnson
Our last newsletter went out just as the statewide K-12 educator walkouts were beginning. 

It was heartening to see so much support for our teachers and schools. The state spending bill that boosts teacher pay may have ended the educators' walkout, but not the Red for Ed movement. We are in need of a real solution that addresses the systemic funding issues of our public schools. We are all hoping for a resolution that will change how our public schools and teachers are funded for the long term.

The college hosted a Teach In to answer questions about school closures and walkouts. We included perspectives from teachers, parents, district administrators, and education lawyer John Richardson.

Thanks to Professor of Practice Donna Jurich and Professor Erin Turner for organizing this important and timely event to help our future educators become more informed.

Our Teach In led the evening news on the walkouts on KOLD News, which you can watch here.

After the teacher walkouts ended, we barely turned around and it was time for commencement! Congratulations to all our graduates, including these standouts and faculty award recipients: 

Outstanding Senior
Clare Emmert

Outstanding Graduate Student
Lauren Meyer

Maria Urquides Laureate Award
Desiree Vega, Assistant Professor, Disability & Psychoeducational Studies

Outstanding Faculty Service/Outreach Award
Monica Erbacher, Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology

Erasmus Circle Fellow
Jill Koyama, Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies & Practice

Disability & Psychoeducational Studies
Outstanding Senior, Deaf Studies
Nicole Scott

Outstanding Senior, Rehabilitation
Clare Emmert

Outstanding Student Teacher, Mild to Moderate Disabilities
Jerry Holman

Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies
Outstanding Senior, Literacy, Learning, and Leadership
Cristal Robles Banuelos

Outstanding Student Teacher, Early Childhood Education
Jennifer Chee

Outstanding Student Teacher, Elementary Education
Delia Sotelo

Outstanding Student Teacher, Teach Arizona
Alison Statham

Congratulations go out to all the families, too! 
Here's just a sampling from the big day. 
family with grad

family with grad

family with grad

family with grad

Our Grad-Cap Challenge Winner

winning grad cap

Clearly, College of Education students are more creative than most, which was obvious in the sea of graduation caps during convocation. Each year, we put a challenge out to post the decorated gaps on the college's social media. The winner of this year's grad-cap challenge was Madison Loya, who graduated with an elementary education degree. Loya's  cap reads "Adopt an adventurous attitude." Loya did part of her student teaching in China, and her mentor teacher taught her how to write the characters for this quote. Loya received an Amazon Echo Dot for her creativity.
Strategies for Strength

college logo with words strategic plan

As the University of Arizona conducts its strategic-planning process, we also are working on a strategic plan for the College of Education. By the end of 2018, the college will have a plan that guides decision-making for the next five years. We have just completed the data-gathering and analysis phases via surveys and focus groups. These themes emerged:
  • Increase collaborations across college and university
  • Support students to graduate debt free and on time
  • Strengthen college-community relations
  • Increase international and binational presence
  • Increase policy presence
  • Emphasize social justice, diversity, and inclusion more strongly
  • Make professional preparation more available to all students
  • Make graduate study more relevant and affordable
  • Become more innovative with our instruction, particularly through digital literacy
  • Support high-quality research agendas that have local, state, and national impact
Now we are prepared to act on the data to create next steps and to align our strategy with the university's strategy.  Stay tuned ... we'll have updates as we move along the strategic-planning process.

What a Difference a Teacher Makes

alumna epseranza bejarano with Carlos Tapia
Carlos Tapia, left, recently reconnected with his fourth-grade teacher, Esperanza Bejarano. Bejarano was his first teacher after his family moved to Tucson from  Nogales, Sonora, in 1973. "She was my beginning," he said. 
P hoto by Mike Christy of the Arizona Daily Star.
This story in the Arizona Daily Star by Ernesto Portillo touches everyone who reads it. Not only that, the featured teacher is a two-time College of Education alumna (1965 and 1978). Esperanza Bejarano, you make us proud!

STEM Stories

solar system

Stories of Tomorrow (STORIES) is a research and development project funded by the European Commission, involving 15 project partners from 10 countries, and that includes the College of Education!  The project uses the concept of digital storytelling as a catalyst for the effective interaction between art and STEM disciplines.

Thanks to the college's Associate Professor Jill Castek, Dean Bruce Johnson, and College of Science Director of Education Outreach Kevin Bonine, we received a UA grant to be part of this international collaboration for Students' Visions on the Future of Space Travel project. The transnational team includes 13 education, assessment, and technology partners from eight countries across the world. Ongoing conversations with the international research partners paved the way for the creation of a digital storytelling platform.

We designed and tested strategies for how teachers' roles and conditions can support and enable deeper learning for a group of students who then created enhanced digital stories about this virtual journey to Mars.
After more than six months of virtual space exploration -- including colonizing Mars by designing and building shelters, hands-on experiments, rover missions on the Mars surface, crafting models of the solar system, and creating stories -- more than 150 fifth-grade students of Elllinogermaniki Agogi in Greece celebrated their successfully completed Mars missions. 

Their project culminated in a virtual visit and live-broadcast to the Biosphere2. Bonine and Biosphere2 program coordinator Katie Morgan explained the importance of the work scientists are doing to better understand the atmosphere on earth. The students interacted directly with the scientists, asking them about the potential input and impact of their work for possible future Mars missions.  Watch the action here.

For more information about this partnership, contact Associate Professor Jill Castek
More STEM: Transforming the Educational Landscape

stream in nature

Now in its fourth year, the annual STEM for All Video Showcase features more than 200 innovative projects aimed at improving STEM learning and teaching. 

As part of the showcase, Associate Professor Kristin Gunckel looked at an innovative high school curriculum project to teach students about using computer models to understand local water problems, such as groundwater contamination or flooding.

"Water contamination, flooding, and drought are ubiquitous. My project prepares high school students to use computation models to understand and respond to water problems in their local areas," said Gunckel.

View her project video, Comp Hydro: Engaging Students in Using Computational Thinking to Understand Local Water Problems, funded by the National Science Foundation, here

Last year's STEM for All Video Showcase is still being accessed, with more than 51,000 unique visitors from more than 189 countries.  For more information on the Comp Hydro project, visit this website or  contact Gunckel .  
Educational Policy Studies & Practice
jenny j lee
NAFSA: Association of International Educators named Professor Jenny Lee a senior fellow, based on her commitment to higher education internationalization and to strengthening global ties. NAFSA is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. NAFSA's 10,000 members are located at more than 3,500 institutions worldwide, in more than 150 countries.

Promotion:  Professor Francesca L√≥pez (previously an associate professor) focuses on one of the most critical issues of our day, solving racial and ethnic inequities in education. She also has been named the associate dean in the college, beginning July 1.

Professor and Department Head Gary Rhoades was quoted in this article about the elimination of 13 humanities majors at UW-Stevens Point.

Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies

Sarah Azhar '18 (literacy, learning, and leadership) is about to begin a summer internship at NASA to work in its Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. The lab is the leading center of robotic exploration of the solar system. Azhar will create online training and education modules for lab staff. She begins graduate studies in New York this fall. Just more proof that the possibilities are endless with an education degree!

Promotion: Associate Professor Elizabeth Jaeger (previously an assistant professor) has a passion for helping vulnerable readers, which permeates her research, teaching, and service.

Alumna Monique Perez '14 (literacy, learning, and leadership) interned as a project assistant for the Library of Congress. Working at the largest library in the world was a dream job for Perez, who by the age of 8 decided she wanted to become a career librarian. "The institution has all sorts of treasures, and I learn new information every day. It's a dream come true for me."  She is now pursuing a master's degree in library and information science at the UA.  The Library of Congress featured the summer interns in their newsletter, The Gazette.

sara tolbert
Associate Professor Sara Tolbert was a keynote panelist for the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2018 Human Rights Coalition earlier this year in Washington, D.C. She was on the first panel, Encouraging Evidence-Based Policies and Practices to Support Human Rights in STEM Education, which you can view here at 37:00-47:00, followed by a panel discussion directly after the talk.

erin turner
Promotion:  Professor Erin Turner (previously an associate professor) is a mathematics education scholar who focuses on teaching that leverages children's multiple mathematical funds of knowledge, particularly for Latino and Latina students and emerging bilinguals.

Enjoy your summer!
johnson signature
Bruce Johnson
From Our Development Office

Gifts that Pay Income to You

You can make a gift to our college that will pay you income throughout your lifetime.

The charitable gift annuity is among the most popular of the charitable life-income plans. In exchange for a transfer of cash, marketable securities, or, in some circumstances, real estate, we contractually guarantee to make specified annuity payments to you and/or another beneficiary for life. The payout rate depends on the ages and number of beneficiaries. Charitable gift annuities can start payouts when the donor is 65, or you may choose to defer payments.

You can claim a current charitable deduction for the portion of the transfer that represents the charitable gift. In addition, income from a gift annuity receives favorable tax treatment in that a portion of each income payment is a tax-free return of principal over the donor's life expectancy.

For more information, please contact me at 520-621-3413 or lorourke@email.arizona.edu.


Lee O'Rourke
Associate Director of Development
Interim Lead Development Officer

To make a gift to the college,  please follow this link

We want to hear from you! Send your news to anat@u.arizona.edu .