SOE News

Peabody Pulse

Steve Knotek serves as Fulbright specialist in Croatia

Steve Knotek, associate professor of school psychology, learning sciences and psychological studies, served as a Fulbright Specialist this summer, helping develop a Croatian/European version of the early intervention/prevention program called Response to Instruction. Knotek spent three months working on the project, based at the University of Rijeka. The project was intended to further the ability of the university to train students, supplement curricula and provide professional development for working teachers and related professionals in the areas of prevention, early intervention, wellness and success of youth who are at-risk for poor academic and psychological outcomes.

Sherick Hughes book wins AESA ‘Critics Choice’ award

A book co-edited by Associate Professor Sherick Hughes – “The Evolving Significance of Race: Living, Learning, and Teaching,” has won the 2014 Critics Choice Book Award of the American Educational Studies Association. Hughes edited the book with Theodorea Regina Berry of the University of Texas at San Antonio. The book was determined by a panel of AESA members to have made an outstanding contribution to scholarship in the field of social foundations of education. Recipients of the award will be honored at the AESA annual meeting in November in Toronto.

Fen English has new book published

Fen English, the R. Wendell Eaves Sr. Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, has had his latest book – “The Leadership Identity Journey” – published. It was written with Carol Mullen of Virginia Tech and William Kealy and was published by Rowman and Littlefield of Lanham, Maryland. English is working, with co-author Cheryl Bolton, on his next book, “Bourdieu for Educators,” to be published by Sage Publications. It is expected to be released in January.

Doctoral student William Jackson named Black Male Achievement Fellow

William Jackson, a doctoral student in educational psychology, has been named a 2014 Black Male Achievement Fellow by the nonprofit group Echoing Green. The group recognized Jackson for his work developing a program he calls Village of Wisdom, which is aimed at helping African American youth succeed in school. The award comes with a $70,000 grant to help Jackson launch his nonprofit, which is based in Durham. VOW will provide parents of African American boys resources to help to develop messages that have the potential to propel their sons to success. The curriculum for parents includes topics on racial identity and confidence development, as well as discussing how to help their child navigate racial biases. VOW will provide parents the time and space to develop messages to share with their children, hopefully making their sons more resilient and adaptive. Read a profile of Jackson on the School of Education website, here.

Doctoral student Dede Addy wins AERA dissertation award

Dede Addy, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Education, has won an AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship to support her research in literacy among middle class black families. Addy, who is pursuing her doctorate in the Culture, Curriculum and Change research strand, will receive a $19,000 stipend to support her while she completes her dissertation. Addy will also receive a travel award, enabling her to attend the 2015 American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting in Chicago in April where she will make a presentation on her work. Addy was one of nine graduate students from around the country selected for the award. The program is aimed at supporting members of racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in higher education. Read more here.

Sharon Palsha invited to help K-3 formative assessment rollout

Sharon Palsha received an invitation this summer from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to assist the department with the rolling out of the new K-3 Formative Assessment that was written as part of the Race to the Top grant received by the state. Palsha will be serving on a Regional Implementation Team for Region 5 working with school teams next spring to assist them with full implementation.

Nick Cabot visits Galapagos, China

Nick Cabot, clinical assistant professor of science education, spent a week in the Galapagos Islands to participate in a study group examining education reform there. The group is working with the Ecuadoran Ministry of Education, the Galapagos Conservancy, the Scalesia Foundation, and the University of San Francisco de Quito. UNC-Chapel Hill has the only university-based research outpost on the Islands -- the UNC Galapagos Science Center – which led to the School of Education’s involvement with the education reform effort. Cabot also toured China, recruiting for the new master’s in international education program. He made presentations in Beijing, Shen Yang, Qingdao, Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan, and Shanghai.

Eileen Parsons serves as panelist, scholar in residence

Eileen Parsons, associate professor of science education, served as an expert panelist at the conference Understanding Interventions: Measuring Pathways to Participation held in Baltimore. Parsons assisted program developers and program implementers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in identifying and understanding theories and constructs most pertinent to their interventions that broaden participation of traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM research careers. Parsons also served as a scholar in residence for the four-day Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (TIDES) Institute funded by Helmsley Foundation and sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and Project Kaleidoscope. TIDES was held in Washington, D.C. She worked with faculty and administrative representatives of 11 Universities and Colleges to refine their programs designed to develop cultural competence among STEM faculty and make STEM experiences equitable for traditionally underserved populations on their respective campuses.

Jennifer Wooten voted president-elect of language studies group

Jennifer Wooten, clinical assistant professor of education, has been elected president-elect of the International Society for Language Studies. ISLS is an international association of scholars that provides a forum for both theoretical and empirical research for exploring the relationships among language, power, discourses, and social practices.

Lora Cohen-Vogel appointed to School Leadership Research Alliance

Lora Cohen-Vogel, the Robena and Walter E. Hussman, Jr. Distinguished Associate Professor of Policy and Education Reform, was appointed to the School Leadership Research Alliance in North Carolina. It is an alliance of researchers and policymakers sponsored by the Regional Education Lab-Southeast committed to the study and development of effective educational leaders in the state.

Fen English re-elected to National Council of Professors of Educational Administration board

Fen English, the R. Wendell Eaves Sr. Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, was re-elected to a term on the Executive Board of the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration at the annual summer conference in Camarillo, Calif. Also, English was the first guest professor to launch the new Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at Soka University of America.

Leigh Hall teaches in Upward Bound, serves fellowship, launches blog

Leigh Hall, associate professor of literacy studies, worked as an English teacher for six weeks for high school students enrolled in Upward Bound/Trio program for first generation college students. She also participated in the i3@unc 10-day fellowship in Asheville for learning how to develop and teach online courses. And, she launched a professional blog. It’s here.

Eric Houck, Allison Rose Socol publish columns in News & Observer

Eric Houck, associate professor of educational leadership and policy, and Allison Rose Socol, a doctoral student in policy, leadership and school improvement, each had opinion columns published in The News & Observer during the summer. Houck’s column, which examined the teacher pay plan proposed by Gov. Pat McCrory, is here. Socol’s column, which looked at the “Read to Achieve” law, is here.

Doctoral student Danielle Allen chosen as Jackson Scholar

Danielle Allen, a doctoral student in the School of Education’s policy, leadership and school improvement Ph.D. strand, has been chosen as a 2014-16 Jackson Scholar by the University Council for Educational Administration. The Jackson Scholars Network is designed to create opportunities for graduate students of color to take advantage of formal networking, mentoring, and professional development opportunities.

Doctoral student Mark Johnson chosen as UNC student representative at UCEA event

Mark Johnson, a Ph.D. student in the policy, leadership and school improvement strand, has been chosen to serve (with Professor Lora Cohen-Vogel) as UNC’s student ambassador to a joint project of the University Council for Educational Administration and the Politics of Education Association called a “Day on the Hill,” an event to be held concurrently with the UCEA conference in Washington, D.C. in November. Among the purposes of the event is bringing knowledge and know-how to Congress to advocate for a federal commitment to educational quality and equity.

Doctoral student Genna Durante wins Gallagher Dissertation Award

Genna Durante, a doctoral student in the school psychology program, has been awarded the 2014-15 James J. Gallagher Dissertation Award. The award recognizes Durante’s work in examining the cultural relevancy of family-centered care, which is aligned with the research interests of the late James Gallagher. Gallagher was an internationally recognized expert on special education and gifted education and the former director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and a senior scientist emeritus, as well as former Kenan Professor in the School of Education. He died in January at the age of 87. Durante will be given the award at FPG’s annual meeting on Oct. 10.

Ariel Tichnor-Wagner accepted into Future Faculty Fellowship Program

Ariel Tichnor-Wagner, a Ph.D. student in policy, leadership and school improvement, has been accepted into UNC’s Future Faculty Fellowship Program. Tichnor-Wagner is taking part in the inaugural pilot of the program, which is run by the Center for Faculty Excellence. The semester-long program provides free professional development opportunities and includes a $450 honorarium.

Doctoral student David Brooks participates in European academy

David Brooks (M.Ed.X. ’10), a curriculum and instruction doctoral student working with professors Suzanne Gulledge and Xue Rong, received one of two grants from the Duke Center for European Studies to participate in July in the Centropa Summer Academy in Vienna and Sarajevo. Centropa is an organization dedicated to the preservation of Jewish family stories from Eastern Europe. During the program this summer, 60 educators from North America, Europe, and Israel studied ethnic and religious conflicts that sparked World War I, World War II, and the Bosnian War in the early 1990s. Brooks used digital media to preserve stories that demonstrate hope, courage, and community-building.

Paper by Danielle Allen, Ariel Tichno-Wagner recognized

A paper written by Danielle Allen and Ariel Tichnor-Wagner, Ph.D. students in policy, leadership and school improvement, was rated as the most highly scored graduate student submission to the School Effectiveness and School Improvement special interest group at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. The paper – entitled “Accountable for Caring: The Possibilities of Nurturing Caring Teachers in Urban High Schools” – is now being prepared for publication. It was written using data from Lora Cohen-Vogel’s National Center for Scaling up Effective Schools project.

Publications and Presentations

Following are just some of the publications and presentations by School of Education faculty, graduate students and staff during the summer.

Judith Meece, professor of educational psychology, gave the Presidential Address for Division 15 of the American Psychological Association at the APA’s annual convention in August in Washington, D.C. Meece’s presentation was entitled “Gender and Educational Attainment – Past, Present, and Future Research.”

Keith Sawyer, the Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations, served as a presenter at the Aspen Ideas Festival in late June-early July. Sawyer talked about creativity and how it often is generated. Some of his points were summarized in this article on the website of The Atlantic.

Kelly Ryoo, assistant professor of learning sciences, presented her research on the effects of different types of automated guidance on middle school students' science learning at the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) in Boulder, Colorado. The title of my conference paper is "Comparison of Specific and Knowledge Integration Automated Guidance for Concept Diagrams in Inquiry Instruction" and is available in the ICLS proceedings here.

Dana Griffin, associate professor of school counseling, gave a talk to the Carolina College Advising Corps on parent involvement, discussing ways in which the advisors can work with parents to help prepare their children regarding college and career readiness.

Gregory Cizek, professor of educational measurement and evaluation, made two presentations at the National Conference on Student Assessment in New Orleans. The titles of his presentation were “Next Generation Achievement Standard Setting” and “Preventing and Detecting Cheating in Statewide Assessments: How Are We Doing and What’s Next?”

Leigh Hall, associate professor of literacy studies, published a book chapter with doctoral student Aubrey Comperatore in “Best Practices in Adolescent Literacy Instruction,” published by Guilford Press. The title of their chapter: “Youth Who Struggle with Academic Literacies. Hall also published her first e-book, “Creating Reading Partnerships,” which is available here.

Sharon Palsha, clinical associate professor of early childhood education, and doctoral student Meredith Jones made a presentation at the Annual National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute held in Chapel Hill. Their presentation was entitled “Project Approach in Action to Benefit Every Child, Teacher and Family.” An editor from Brookes Publishing Company was in the audience and approached Palsha at the end of the presentation about a book contract on the topic for her and Jones.

Jennifer Wooten, clinical assistant professor of education, co-authored an article in the journal Pedagogies. The article, co-authored with M. Cahnmann-Taylor, is entitled “Black, White, and Rainbow [of Desire]: The Colour of Race-Talk of Pre-Service Foreign Language Educators in Boalian Theatre Workshops.”

Associate Professors Jeffrey Greene and Cheryl Mason Bolick, with educational psychology, measurement and evaluation graduate students Will Jackson, Mike Caprino and Chris Oswald, presented the paper “An experimental comparison of self-regulated learning processing across academic domains” at the 2014 American Psychological Association Conference, Washington, D.C.

Judith Meece, professor of educational psychology, with doctoral student Charlotte Agger participated in a presentation at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association. The session was entitled “Following Through: alignment of Rural youths’ Educational Aspirations and Actual College Enrollment.

Keith Sawyer, the Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations, was one of the instructors in i3@UNC, a new program created by the UNC system’s General Administration to help professors at all 17 system campuses learn how to develop online courses.

Eric Houck, associate professor of educational leadership and policy, and doctoral student Becca Merrill presented an overview of recently proposed open enrollment legislation and an overview of weighted student funding models to the Public Education Steering Committee of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners in May.

Doctoral student Derrick R. Drakeford has been invited to present two papers at the upcoming American Educational Studies Association conference in Toronto. The papers are entitled "Tear Drop Theory in Action, More then Autoethnography" and "Lives, Laments, and Leadership: Life Narrative Study of African American Male Current and Former HBCU Presidents."

Brooke Midkiff, a Ph.D. student in the Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement strand, recently published a book review in The Education Review. Midkiff’s review may be found here.

Doctoral student Leigh Anna Hutchison presented in a poster session at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association earlier this month. Hutchison’s poster was entitled “Self-Regulated Learning in Context: Interplay of Cognition, Motivation, and Affect in Composing.”

Doctoral student Helen Avis had an article originally written for LEARN NC’s blog “The Well” republished with permission by the National Council for History Education in its June 2014 newsletter.

T.J. Wolfe, instructional designer at LEARN NC, completed his Ph.D. in instructional technology at N.C. State.

Kimberly Hirsh, managing editor of LEARN NC, presented a workshop session at the Pitt County Schools Technology Expo.

Mike Bamford, learning management systems administrator at LEARN NC, facilitated video content collection for the Envoys of Honor project with Chapel Hill Carrboro Schools at the 70th Anniversary of D-Day at Normandy, France.

Alumna Profile: Mallory Nickel ’12 teaches on the move

Mallory Nickel, a graduate of the UNC-BEST program, was profiled on the School of Education’s website. Nickel teaches in Lee Early College High School in Sanford. The profile takes a look at how Nickel teaches several courses to a total of about 50 students. Because the school is so small, she also takes on many other administrative duties, and teaches yoga in her classroom at the end of the day. The profile, which includes an audio slideshow in which Nickel talks about her teaching, is here.

Graduate Student Association collecting school supplies

The School of Education’s Graduate Student Association is asking you for donations of school supplies. The GSA is holding its back-to-school drive to benefit the Latino Educational Achievement Partnership (LEAP). Through Friday, you donations of school supplies may be dropped off in the graduate student lounge on the second floor of Peabody.

EdCamp NC planned for next month at N.C. State

A gathering called “EdCamp NC” will offer educators an opportunity to get together and discuss topics of their choosing. The event will be held at N.C. State University on Sept. 27. This “unconference" allows educators to gather and collaboratively set their own agenda and priorities for learning. There are no keynotes, no pre-planned sessions, and no lectures. For more information visit

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Faculty-Staff Picnic
Noon to 4 p.m.
Briar Chapel Clubhouse

Sept. 10

David Cooper: “The Education of Teachers”
7 p.m.
Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities
101 Renee Lynne Court, Carrboro