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Congratulations to Dr. Marcia Rock, Associate Professor in the Department of Specialized Education Services (SES), for receiving the Teacher Education Division (TED) Distinguished Service award!

Dr. Rock has been a member of the Teacher Education Division since she was a doctoral student. Her national service with TED began when she was elected to serve as TED’s Political Action Member at Large. Subsequently, she was elected to and completed her four-year term as a member of the presidential line of TED.

Following in the footsteps of the presidents before her, Dr. Rock worked to elevate TED’s collaboration with other national organizations concerned with the preparation of teachers, particularly around educational policy. She actively promoted finding solutions to the work force problem in special education, and she received funding to invite 30 national experts to a 1.5 day work session.

Dr. Rock was nominated for this Distinguished Service Award by many of her colleagues: Drs. Pamela Williamson, Wendy Muraski, Diane Ryndak, Paula Crawford, Christina O’Connor, and Jennie Jones. Dr. Williamson stated how Dr. Rock has a long history of promoting governmental and political action in the promotion of actions beneficial to special education. Through her work as TED’s Political Action Committee Member at Large, Dr. Rock influenced the participation in advocacy of countless doctoral students across the country.

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ELC Professor Silvia Bettez

On November 2, 2019, Silvia Bettez became president of the American Educational Studies Association (AESA). Silvia is a Professor in the Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC) Department at the UNC Greensboro School of Education.

The AESA is a society that brings together faculty, graduate students, and other interested individuals (such as teachers, school leaders, independent scholars, and undergraduate students) who examine critical, normative, and interpretive perspectives on education. The AESA draws upon a variety of disciplines including sociology, history, philosophy, critical disability studies, comparative studies, curriculum studies, and cultural studies. 

This is the third of a four-year leadership term for Silvia; she was elected as Vice-President by the AESA members in 2017 and in 2018-2019 served as President-Elect and Program Chair for the annual national conference, which was held in Baltimore, Maryland from October 30 to November 2, 2019. The theme she chose was: “El Pueblo Unido Jamás será Vencido!: Critical Community Building for Social Justice in Divisive Times.”

As program chair, Silvia worked with two UNC Greensboro graduate students, Cristina Dominguez and Chad Harris, to organize all the conference details including working with more than 80 volunteer proposal reviewers and organizing all the sessions for the 5-day conference. Silvia added a pre-conference unconference (a participant-driven meeting) this year that was attended by approximately 30 people who engaged in deep dialogues around the topic Critical Community Building for Social Justice in Education. Silvia co-facilitated the unconference with an AESA member, Mary Kay Delaney.

The AESA conference was one the most well-attended in at least the past six years with more than 500 people registered. As president, Silvia plans to continue her work building community with and among AESA members and hopes to strengthen and support AESA work.

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Left to right: Dr. Peter Johnston from the University at Albany, and Karole-Ann Bayer and Christy Marhatta, both doctoral students in the Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education.

The inaugural meeting of the North Carolina Literacy Research Partnership (NCLRP) was held in the UNC Greensboro School of Education building on October 12, 2019.

This initiative, based at UNC Greensboro, brings together UNC System literacy researchers and teacher educators with K-12 educators from across the state. The purpose of the NCLRP is to build capacity for producing local, research-driven solutions and possibilities for teacher and researcher development, instructional change, and improved student outcomes in literacy in North Carolina.

The October 12th event was an opportunity for those working in literacy research and teaching across the state to exchange information about important work already occurring and to plan for future collaboration. The 48 attendees included teachers from local area schools and faculty from the following UNC System institutions: UNC Greensboro, Appalachian State University, North Carolina Central University, UNC Charlotte, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T University, North Carolina State University, Winston Salem State University, UNC Pembroke, and Western Carolina University.

Attendees selected from a range of sessions presented by research teams from across the UNC System that focused on topics such as early reading and writing development, professional development in literacy for beginning teachers, socio-emotional and literacy learning within project-based science, the uses of technology for literacy learning, writing instruction, and the fostering of home-school relationships.

According to Dr. Gay Ivey, William E. Moran Distinguished Professor in Literacy in the Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education, as well as director of the initiative, the long-term goal is to support and build networks around university-school partnerships in literacy research. As a way to promote this priority, the inaugural event was launched by a morning whole-group session presented by an established and productive researcher-teacher team that included Dr. Ivey, Dr. Peter Johnston of the University at Albany, along with Brian Lundstrom and Amy Kennedy, teachers from the Augusta County Schools in Virginia. Their session focused on what they and the children in Lundstrom’s and Kennedy’s classrooms learned through a long-term collaborative research project that focused on increasing students’ reading engagement and achievement.

A next step in the initiative will be to identify individuals from the UNC System participating institutions who will serve as liaisons to the NCLRP. A goal for the next gathering of this group is to expand teacher participation, with hopes of drawing not only more local area teachers, but also teachers from across the state who are partnering with literacy faculty in meaningful classroom-based studies to improve literacy learning and teaching.

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Congratulations to Dr. Ayesha Boyce, Assistant Professor in the Educational Research Methodology (ERM) Department, who has been awarded the American Evaluation Association 2019 Marcia Guttentag Promising New Evaluator Award.

This award, which Dr. Boyce received at this year’s American Evaluation Association (AEA) Conference in Minneapolis the week of November 12-16, is presented to a promising new evaluator during the first five years after completion of his or her Master’s or Doctoral degree and whose work is consistent with the AEA Guiding Principles for Evaluator.

Dr. Boyce, a 2019 UNCG School of Education Distinguished Researcher Scholar awardee, was selected for her demonstrated promise in early notable and substantial accomplishments.

In addition to Dr. Boyce being an assistant professor of Educational Research Methodology, she also co-directs the UNC Greensboro Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Services. Her research focuses on attending to value stances and issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, access, cultural responsiveness, and social justice within evaluation—especially multi-site, STEM, and contexts with historically marginalized populations. She also examines teaching, mentoring, and learning in evaluation.

Dr. Boyce has evaluated over 40 programs funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), US Department of Education, National Institutes of Health, and Spencer and Teagle foundations. She is a Co-PI on the recently funded 1 million-dollar NSF grant, Spartans ADVANCE: Adaptations of Practices For Faculty Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at UNC Greensboro.

GREENSBORO — Whitney Oakley, UNC Greensboro School of Education Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC) alumna, has been named the new chief academic officer for Guilford County Schools.

The new status for Whitney, who has been serving as the interim chief academic officer since July, was approved Tuesday, November 12th by the Guilford County Board of Education, the district said in a news release. 

She previously served as assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and professional development and before that as the district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction for pre-K through fifth grade, according to the release.

Whitney was a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in Alamance-Burlington School System. She was named that district’s principal of the year in 2010. She has a bachelor’s degree in special education from East Carolina University, a master’s degree in elementary education from Greensboro College, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from UNC Greensboro.

Read the News&Record’s full story here. Congratulations, Whitney!