pumpkin spring
Pumpkin Spring in the Grand Canyon is a geothermal heated mineral water hot spring that gets its name due to the bright orange mineral and organic deposits accumulated on the flowstone, giving it the appearance of a huge pumpkin.

Research shows gratitude helps with stress
It’s true that Thanksgiving won’t look like it normally does with friends and family visiting from across the globe, yet it’s still a time to express gratitude. We’re not going to say 2020 has been a great year by any stretch of the imagination, but as strange as it has been, we are still grateful for so much.

Did you know gratitude counters stress and uncertainty? This article in the Harvard Business Review explains how we can use gratitude to ground ourselves and balance out the negative mindset that uncertainty engenders. Being in nature is also something to be grateful for and never fails to reduce stress. Just look at Pumpkin Spring in the Grand Canyon above and you will see what I mean.

hispanic woman in library
Equity is at the heart of Outreach Familia
This month, we are grateful for a new program in the college, Outreach FAMILIA. This $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help Hispanic students prepare and succeed in STEM careers. The five-year project will:

Increase access to early college-going experiences
Increase student preparedness in mathematics
Build outreach support structures that facilitate student success, including financial literacy
Implement professional development among high school partners to strengthen mathematics instruction and further the college-going culture.

"The work behind Outreach FAMILIA – which stands for Forwarding Academic Mechanisms Integral to Learning in the Academy – began well before the designation," said Cindy Trejo, a grant writer for the HSI Initiatives office and the program's principal investigator. Trejo, now a College of Education project director, says, “The vision for the program grew out of community meetings, which included school district leaders and students. I love this grant because equity and improving outreach with K-12 partners through family engagement and dual enrollment is the heart of the project. This proposal carries the contribution of campus and community wisdom and addresses many barriers with concrete solutions, thus improving access to higher education for Arizona Latinx students. I am so excited to get to work on this effort!” 

wilbur in mask
Plans in motion for spring

We wanted to give you an update on planning for the spring semester. While the pandemic has a mind of its own, we continue to plan to the best of our ability.

Course registration began November 9, and the university will continue to offer four course formats: in-person, flex in-person, live online, and iCourses. For courses with in-person components, we anticipate starting the semester in Stage 2, described below, based on the most current data trends and continued consultation with our public health experts, epidemiologists, and campus community. 

We also will have an enhanced Test, Trace, and Treat protocol in place for spring to support the health of our Wildcat community, including a requirement that all students coming on campus for in-person classes will be tested for coronavirus. Per CDC guidance, students who have received a positive antigen, PCR, or antibody test within 90 days of the start of the spring semester will not be required to retest but must provide documentation. 

Adjusted reentry stage classifications and ramp-up for spring are:

Stage 1: In-person instruction limited to classes designated as essential in-person.
Stage 2: In-person instruction expanded to include in-person and flex in-person classes with projected classroom capacities of no more than 50 people. The attendance schedule will be designed so that no more than 50 people (including instructors and course assistants) will be present in person at each meeting time.
Stage 3: In-person instruction expanded to include In-person and flex in-person classes with projected classroom capacities of up to 100 people. The attendance schedule will be designed so that no more than 100 people (including instructors and course assistants) will be present in person at each meeting time. 
Classes with attendance of more than 100 people will be delivered remotely in either the live online or iCourse format for the entire semester. Learn more from the Office of the Registrar.

ed students with thank you signs
Smart solutions to support our students

Difficult and tight economic times — especially true for our students — call for serious solutions. Here are some of the ways we provide funding for students in need:

Arizona Teachers Academy is a major funding initiative by the Arizona Legislature, the Office of the Governor, and the state’s public universities to bring more qualified K-12 teachers into Arizona’s classrooms by providing teachers with full-tuition scholarships and access to induction services like instructional coaches and professional development opportunities. In exchange, academy-funded teachers must commit to teaching in an Arizona school, public or charter, for as many years as they received funding.

The other good news? The program has been so successful that we've expanded it to include 16 graduate and undergraduate programs in six different colleges and departments throughout the University of Arizona and its Tucson, Southern Arizona, and Phoenix-metro area campuses! This semester, across the 16 College of Education and other university programs, the ATA is supporting 111 graduate students and 127 undergraduate students.

Pathways to Teaching is an innovative College of Education Teacher Preparation Program that seeks to “grow our own” teachers by supporting Tucson-area residents in earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an ESL endorsement. Developed by Professor Marcy Wood, the program’s director, Pathways is a collaboration between the college’s Department of Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies and Sunnyside Unified School District. Pathways to Teaching offers students an opportunity for their community to invest in them as a future educator for local schools.

The program includes:

Full tuition covered through a combination of forgivable loans and scholarships (fees not included)
A monthly stipend of $1,000
Hands-on experience with an experienced teacher in SUSD classrooms
Classes held at a SUSD school site
Completion timeframe is just 17 months (spring, summer, fall, and spring)

Indigenous Teacher Education Project is a four-year project in partnership with the Gila River Indian Community, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Tohono O'odham Nation, and Tucson Unified School District to strengthen the learning experiences of Indigenous students by addressing the need to increase the number of Indigenous teachers serving Indigenous students, schools, and communities.

College of Education scholarships help students who choose careers in education. These students face major challenges in financing college knowing that the earning potential is low compared to other professions. Many of our students have high financial need; almost half of our undergraduate students receive Pell grants (more on Pell below). Scholarships relieve our students' financial burdens, freeing up valuable time to focus on their studies and gain real-world experience through student teaching, internships, and research opportunities. Due to the generosity of donors, we awarded 320 scholarships this year for a total of $643,847!

The university’s Pell Pledge Grant program covers the cost of tuition for many low-income students, making college more accessible to students throughout the state.
All in-state freshmen enrolled at the UA’s main campus, who also qualify for a federal Pell grant, will have the cost of their base tuition covered for four years. A Pell grant is a subsidy provided by the federal government to students who show financial need. Pell grant money does not typically have to be repaid by students.

sazeyc conference logo
Are you a Southern Arizona educator?

The virtual professional development event will include sessions about family engagement, social justice in early childhood, self-care, and mindfulness.

We're sure teachers could use some self-care!

Guess who Nevada’s 2021 Teacher of the Year is?

Our alumna Juliana Urtubey, that’s who!

Urtubey earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 2009 and a master’s degree in special education in 2011. She will be the spokesperson for Nevada’s roughly 27,000 educators and a resource on the state of education in Nevada.

As an educational leader, mentor, and ambassador, Urtubey will make connections with schools, colleges, universities, organizations related to education, the legislature, and stakeholders around the state to elevate teachers, classrooms, and the teaching profession. She adds, “I owe a lot to my formation at the University of Arizona and my time at the College of Education.”

dia de los muertos
Even a virtual visit to La Estrella is fun!

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday when family and friends gather to remember loved ones who have died. It is considered a day of celebration rather than mourning.

For several years, students in our early childhood education program have taken a trip to La Estrella Bakery to celebrate and learn about this cultural tradition. Of course, this year the annual celebration went virtual, but that also meant the invitation could be extended to all college staff and faculty and their families. The group, which included 30 children, watched Erica Franco make the traditional pan (bread) and enjoyed a reading of “The Day of the Dead: A Bilingual Celebration” by Bob Barner from Language, Reading & Culture graduate student Vanessa Rodriguez. They also decorated sugar skulls, which represent departed souls.

wildcat for life image
Celebrating our Wildcats for Life

This month, we’re celebrating College of Education alumni, their accomplishments, and the diverse career paths they’ve chosen after earning degrees through our many programs.

Tia Tsosie-Begay
Bachelor of Arts in Education – Elementary Education, 2002
Master of Education – Educational Leadership, 2005

Stephanie Choi
Bachelor of Science – Literacy, Learning, and Leadership, 2017

José Luis Santos
Master of Arts – Educational Psychology, 1997
Doctor of Philosophy – Higher Education Economics and Finance Policy, 2004

Kathleen Rose
Master of Education – Counseling & Guidance, 1985
Doctor of Education – Educational Leadership, 2004

Support our students in Project FOCUS

Project FOCUS 2020 crowdfunding campaign has officially begun!

Learn more about Project FOCUS, keep your eye on our 2020 crowdfunding campaign starting today, and join our community!

illustration of book open with imagination
Imagination Fridays

Every Friday, Tucson families and classes can connect with a children's book author or illustrator online, thanks to a collaboration between our Worlds of Words and the Tucson Festival of Books.

The 40-minute, livestreamed webinars — dubbed Imagination Fridays — are directed at elementary-age kids and moderated by Professor Kathy G. Short, the founder and director of Worlds of Words and the chair of the festival's children and teens author committee. The idea is that parents and teachers can use the webinar to engage kids with reading and writing.

What: Connect with a children's book author or illustrator at Imagination Fridays
When: Fridays through December, 1 p.m.
Where: Online
Cost: Free
More: Visit the Tucson Festival of Books or Worlds of Words for a list of upcoming speakers and to register and access past recordings

colorful letters spelling the word people
Disability & Psychoeducational Studies

Professors Sheri Bauman and Jina Yoon and postdoc Charlotte Iurino published a research article, Experiences of Adolescent Witnesses to Peer Victimization: The Bystander Effect, in the Journal of School Psychology.

Professor Bauman also delivered the keynote address on the role of teachers in bullying prevention at the Bullying Research Symposium in Vienna earlier this month.


Headshot of Kirsten Lansey
Doctoral student Kirsten Lansey is one of the most industrious students we know. To begin, the first of her three dissertation studies — Training and Coaching: Impact on Peer Mentor Fidelity and Behavior of Postsecondary Students with Autism and Intellectual Disability, written with Professor Shirin Antia, Assistant Professor of Practice Stephanie MacFarland, and Professor Emeritus John Umbreit — was published in Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

Next, Lansing was selected as an outstanding scholar through an internationally competitive review process which resulted in her appointment to 13th cohort of the Council for Exceptional Children's Division for Research Doctoral Student Scholars.

Associate Research Professor Catherine A. Marshall — the creator of Un Abrazo Para La Familia(A Hug for the Family), which provides cancer information and support to low-income, ethnically diverse, and medically underserved family members who are struggling with a cancer diagnosis within the family — authored Reflections: A Daughter's Experience of Parental Cancer and the Beginnings of Un Abrazo Para La Familia™, published in the Journal of Cancer Education.

Marshall adds, "The program has been found to significantly increase cancer knowledge among low-income co-survivors of cancer. After a simple psychoeducational and skills-teaching intervention, families are in a better position to effectively support their loved ones through cancer. "

Former faculty member Penny Rosenblum, now with the American Foundation for the Blind, wrote this editorial in the Arizona Daily Star about accessibility during COVID19 times for people who are blind or visually impaired.


A credit to her profession and our college, Assistant Professor of Practice Marsha Spencer was just named School Psychologist of the Year by the Arizona Association of School Psychologists. Professor and Department Head Carl Liaupsin adds, “I have first-hand knowledge of her ability to approach program leadership with a rare mix of transparency, efficiency, and compassion.”

Educational Policy Studies & Practice
Associate Professor Nolan Cabrera wrote Although Now Required by California Law, Ethnic Studies Courses Likely to Be Met with Resistance, which has been picked up by several media outlets, for The Conversation.

Jenny Lee headshot
Professor Jenny Lee was interviewed for this Education Dive story on how President-Elect Joe Biden's immigration proposals may affect international students.

Sonja Lanehart headshot
Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies

Professor Sonja Lanehart, a Faculty Fellow in the Graduate College who holds appointments in both the College of Education and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, has been elected to a prestigious national leadership role to serve a three-year term on the governing board of the Linguistic Society of America. The LSA is the largest national organization in the world devoted to advancing the scientific study of language, and is the publisher of the quarterly journal, Language. Lanehart is a staunch advocate for mentoring and sponsoring emerging scholars of color, anti-racism, social justice, equity, and inclusion.

We're proud to report that Teach Arizona graduate Christopher Pankratz ’13, a theater arts teacher at Flowing Wells High School, was honored with a Raytheon Leaders in Education Award.

Also exciting: Teach Arizona graduate Gricelda Meraz ’08, a sixth-grade science Dual/GATE teacher at Hollinger K-8 School, was a finalist in the middle school category.

The Raytheon Leaders in Education Award program recognizes and rewards Pima County teachers in grades K-12 who are achieving outstanding classroom performance, demonstrating leadership in their schools and communities, and supporting their peers in a committed teacher workforce.
Chistopher Pankratz in suit and tie with Flowing Wells pin.

Gricelda Meraz in black blazer with white blouse and necklace with circle pendant.

Group of six interviewees in front of the US Mexico border wall. One of which is ITEP student Sara Mae Williams
Indigenous Teachers Education Project teacher candidate Sara Mae Williams was interviewed as part of a panel by MSNBC about United States immigration and the border wall.

Student Spotlight
zoom with newsome
In our last issue, we told you student Lisa Friedman's virtual internship with the Jewish Center for Justice, where she spent her summer advocating for SB 1383, a Senate bill to extend access to paid family and medical leave for six million Californians.

Friedman was invited to witness Governor Gavin Newsom sign the bill into law via Zoom (Friedman is in the top left of the Zoom screen) – a “once in a lifetime experience,” she says. “There were only 100 of us on the call, and I got to hear from people like Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, and Governor Newsom. It was incredible and so moving to see some people on the call who had been working to get legislation like this passed for over 20 years.”

We wanted to learn a little more about Friedman.
Photo of Lisa Friedman on a pier in a blue jacket with bay in the background.
An undergraduate in our literacy, learning, and leadership, Friedman, from Calabasas, California, is on schedule to graduate in May with a minor in Judaic Studies.

Can you tell us about your internship experience through the literacy, learning, and leadership program?
I have had several profound internship experiences through the LLL program. My most recent internship was with the Jewish Center for Justice. During this internship, I used the skills I have learned from the LLL program to advocate for legislation in California with several other nonprofits. Because of my work and the work of so many other advocates, California passed a bill that will provide more than 6 million Californians with job protection and family leave. It feels amazing to have been a part of this legislation passing, and it is all thanks to the LLL program. This internship taught me so many important lessons and also gave me the opportunity to put my LLL education into action.

What are your post-graduation plans?
I plan on working in Jewish nonprofit management for a few years after I graduate and then I plan on going to rabbinical school to become a rabbi.

What advice do you have for students just starting in the College of Education?
Take advantage of every opportunity in the College of Education. The college constantly holds events for professional development, student socialization, and even job-searching opportunities. The advisors and professors are extremely welcoming, supportive, and knowledgeable. Also, getting to know your classmates can be super helpful and fun!

Thank you for being part of our College of Education family! Until next time,

Bruce Johnson
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College of Education
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