Holt Wilson

The UNC Greensboro School of Education (SOE) is pleased to announce that Dr. Holt Wilson, Associate Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education, has been appointed as founding Faculty Co-Director for the Institute for Partnerships in Education (I-PiE).

Dr. Wilson is a lifelong North Carolinian with 20 years of experience in public education — he was a high school math teacher before returning to graduate school and joining the SOE faculty in 2010. He received his BS in Mathematics and MAEd in Mathematics Education from East Carolina University, and his PhD in Mathematics Education from NC State.

Dr. Wilson’s research focuses on understanding how teachers learn and use evidence from research in their teaching and how to design professional learning opportunities that support them in such learning. In the past decade, he has partnered with teachers, schools, and districts on a number of research and professional development projects — frequently involving SOE students — to help improve teachers’ skills by sharing evidence from research on student learning and teaching. In that process, he investigates how teachers learn about student thinking and teaching practices, and how they implement that knowledge in their classrooms.

Launching within the SOE this fall, the goal of I-PiE is to provide the necessary infrastructure and leadership to facilitate and support long-term partnerships between the SOE and education-related agencies (e.g., school districts, libraries, community organizations, etc.) across the state and beyond.

Historically, interactions between universities and education-related agencies tend to be transactional — for example, the university contacts a school district with an urgent need to conduct a research grant in a school, or a school district contacts the university with an urgent need for teacher professional development in a particular area. I-PiE aims to change that transactional model to one that is grounded in the SOE engaging school districts and other education-related agencies in an ongoing dialogue exploring their greatest problems of practice and identifying ways that UNC Greensboro education researchers and professionals can partner with these organizations in developing long-term strategies for addressing these problems.

In his new role as Faculty Co-Director of I-PiE, Dr. Wilson aims to create resources and infrastructure to facilitate collaborative work between SOE faculty and education-related agencies. He envisions I-PiE as a hub to generate and share knowledge about establishing, supporting, and sustaining productive partnerships — partnerships that strive to reduce educational inequities and benefit youth. He will support faculty in creating or growing existing partnerships, and he hopes that I-PiE will expand experiential learning opportunities for SOE students.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Holt Wilson on his new role. We are confident that his expertise, research, and invaluable experience will make him a fantastic leader and ensure that I-PiE hits the ground running. We look forward to collaborating with Dr. Wilson and supporting new and exciting endeavors with this brand new Institute.

Edna Tan TEHE

Congratulations to Dr. Edna Tan (TEHE) and Dr. Angela Calabrese Barton, whose paper “Designing for rightful presence in STEM: The role of making present practices” was selected for the Best Paper Published in the Journal of the Learning Sciences Award for 2019.

Their paper was awarded by an external panel of reviewers who are leaders in the field of the learning sciences. “We wish to congratulate you on this fine achievement. Your paper represents the Journal’s commitment to outstanding scholarship in the learning sciences and more generally in educational research,” said Susan Yoon and Jan van Aalst, Co-editors in Chief.

Dr. Tan is professor of science education in the UNCG SOE Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education. Her research is focused on long-term community-engaged partnerships with teachers and youth of color on justice-oriented STEM engagement in the community.

Abstract of the winning paper:

Opportunities to learn in consequential ways are shaped by the historicized injustices students encounter in relation to participation in STEM and schooling. In this article, it is argued that the construct of rightful presence, and the coconstructed “making present” practices that give rise to moments of rightful presence, is 1 way to consider how to make sense of the historicized and relational nature of consequential learning. Drawing on theories of consequential learning and critical justice, we analyze ethnographic data from 3 urban middle school classrooms in 2 states during a STEM unit focused on engineering for sustainable communities. Findings describe 2 making present practices students enacted as they engaged in engineering design: modeling ethnographic data and reperforming injustices toward solidarity building. We discuss how these practices supported moments of rightful presence in the STEM classrooms by inscribing youths’ marginalizing school experiences as a part of classroom science discourse and co-opting school science tasks as tools for exposing, critiquing, and addressing these unjust experiences. That which was silent and previously concealed from school authority figures gained a rightful place through the voices and scientific actions of the youth and their allies.

UPDATE 7/9/20: Dr. Edna Tan, along with Ravit Golan Duncan (Principal Investigator) and Frieda Reichsman (Co-Principal Investigator), was awarded a continuing grant from the National Science Foundation for their work, titled: Fostering deep learning, identity, and agency: Minoritized students learning biology in personal and community-relevant contexts.

Learn more about Dr. Tan’s work in the UNCG SOE here.

Dear SOE Community,

We are heartbroken and outraged by the lives lost and endangered through the abuse of power over the past several months: Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, as well as Christian Cooper’s recent experience. These injustices are heinous, intolerable, and run counter to every fiber of our mission as a School of Education. Our deepest sympathies are with the victims, their families and friends.

In this period of unprecedented public suffering from COVID-19 and continued racially motivated violence, it is upon us — our School of Education community — to stand together in our collective responsibilities as scholar-educators and education professionals to do all that we can to ensure any person can pursue their lives freely and safely. Let us strive to expand our current work in promoting educational and social equity and seek new and broader ways to address social injustices of racism and prejudice — through our teaching, through our scholarship, through our practice, and through our community engagement.

I know this is an extremely trying time for our students, staff, and faculty. We are here for you and each other and wish to open spaces for discussion. We are also thinking forward about the ways we can continue to support broader work that disrupts/halts the normalization of such violence.

With much hope for peace, justice, and unity,

Randy Penfield Signature

Randy Penfield
Dean, UNC Greensboro School of Education

Dr Morgan Chitiyo

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Morgan Chitiyo has been appointed Chair of the Department of Specialized Education Services (SES) for the UNC Greensboro School of Education. He will assume this new role on August 1, 2020.

Dr. Chitiyo will be joining us from Duquesne University where he currently serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Counseling, Psychology and Special Education. Prior to that he served as the special education program director in the same department. Before joining Duquesne University, he served as assistant and associate professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Dr. Chitiyo received his B.A.Ed. from Africa University and both his MBA and Ph.D. (Applied Behavior and Analysis) from Tennessee Technological University. His research interests include positive behavior supports, autism, inclusive education, and special education professional development, especially in the area of behavior management. He has made significant contributions to the development of special education internationally through his scholarship focusing on special education teacher preparation and professional development. He currently serves as an associate editor of the Journal of International Special Needs Education and is past editor of the Journal of the International Association of Special Education.

Dr. Chitiyo has been honored through awards such as the Tennessee Technological University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, Southern Illinois University’s Outstanding McNair Scholars’ Mentor, Duquesne University’s School of Education Excellence in Scholarship Award, School of Education Excellence in Service Award, and the President’s Award for Excellence in Service to the Mission.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Chitiyo to his new role as Chair of the Specialized Education Services (SES) Department. We look forward to working with him and we are excited to see how he collaborates with SES and the broader UNC Greensboro community.

Dear SOE Community,

Over the past six weeks, my thoughts and hopes have turned often to the members of our School of Education (SOE) family. I know the pandemic has touched us all, either through personal loss or by disrupting the connections and routines we treasure. We have heard this moment described as unprecedented, cautionary, troubling, and uncertain. While I am confident in our belief that the power of education will prevail, it will not be the same for a long time to come.

Teachers are among those on the front lines of this crisis. You’ve seen the news and have likely heard stories from friends and families. Perhaps you are homeschooling your own children, and/or have your own boots on the ground. Whatever the situation, please know that our thoughts are with you during this challenging time.

For the SOE, our students, faculty, and alumni, also are looking at multiple challenges, including:
SOE alumni, including teachers who are working with families, now juggling learning and working at home. Counselors are seeing their services needed like never before, and other educators are reimagining literacy and science programs to keep students and teachers engaged and energized.
SOE students, who are experiencing intense financial pressure. With over 70% of SOE students receiving some sort of need-based financial assistance in the form of grants and scholarships, most still work multiple jobs to pay for their education. For many, those jobs no longer exist and the funds our students had set aside for education are now needed for housing, food, and taking care of families.
SOE faculty, who have made the massive shift to online course offerings. While a handful of our programs were already set up for distance learning, most were not. Currently, all of our courses are now being taught online, a system that will continue at least through this summer.

I have been touched by the numerous inquiries we have received about how to best offer help to others in our SOE community. While I make no assumptions about how your personal circumstances have been impacted by recent events, I am making an exceptional ask of you in a very exceptional time. We have two funds in the School of Education helping us address the many challenges facing our community right now and going forward:
The School of Education Dean’s Greatest Needs Fund allows SOE leadership to meet the immediate/urgent needs that directly impact our students and faculty. This could include support for tuition, transportation, technology support online learning, students in crisis, and other services. Even if you have already made a gift to the SOE this year, we hope you will consider supporting this fund given the unique circumstances our students now are facing.
The School of Education Scholarship Endowment is a permanent fund that awards scholarships to multiple students, both undergraduate and graduate, in the SOE based on financial need. If you have already established a scholarship in the SOE, I encourage you to make your gift to your named fund. If you don’t have a named fund, this is the place to make your gift. Given the financial hardships our students now face as a result of the pandemic, we expect the need for scholarship support will far exceed what we are able to award in the coming year.

I am awed by the constant displays of generous support I witness daily in the education community. With your support, I am confident that we will come through this unprecedented time even stronger than before. I am available to answer any questions you may have, as is Terri Jackson, our Senior Director of Development (336-256-0496, terrijackson@uncg.edu). No matter the size of your gift, be assured your generosity and care will make an immediate difference.

With gratitude and best wishes for your health and safety,

Randy Penfield Signature

Randy Penfield, Dean
336-334-3944 • rdpenfie@uncg.edu