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We all have a drive to keep learning

Lifelong learning. For some, it's just a catchphrase. But in the College of Education, it's what fuels our daily work.

It's an inner voice that pushes us to question and debate what we encounter every day. It's a genuine curiosity about the world and a desire to know more about it. And it's what happens when we learn by doing, tackle problems, and examine solutions.

This commitment to never stop learning also helps unite the faculty, staff, and students in the University of Georgia College of Education. Our reasons for coming here may vary, but it's this internal motivation that unites us to improve the lives of those around us.

This connection to our communities and the desire to make them better is also a common thread that runs through our degree programs, research, and service activities. Although this work spans a wide range of disciplines, including teacher preparation, communication sciences and disorders, counseling, movement and exercise science, and educational leadership, it is bound by common commitments. Our students, staff, and faculty share an openness to learning and growing, a need to make positive change, and a desire to connect on a personal level to improve human lives.

I am proud of the work that takes place within the walls of Aderhold Hall, River's Crossing, Ramsey Student Center, on our campuses in Gwinnett and Griffin, and in the communities we serve. On any given day, you can find someone rethinking the way we learn in several ways: how social justice is achieved, how humans move, how policies shape our communities, and how real-world experiences enrich everything we do. This year's annual report offers a glimpse into the ways we connect discovery and learning with our communities; my hope is that, through these examples, you too can feel a part of our shared vision to improve the world and the lives around us.

Because the bottom line is, we all share this passion. We all want to improve the world around us and lift others along the way.

This is what unites us: The drive to never stop learning.

Denise A. Spangler

Leading the Next Generation

Our students yearn for new responsibilities and bigger ideas, and we meet them with programs to challenge and develop leaders in education and health sciences.

Starting at the Top

After serving as an assistant principal at a metro Augusta high school, Brian Hadden was ready for his next challenge. He was named principal at Pine Hill Middle School in the fall of 2016, but the move from assistant principal to principal left him with gaps in his knowledge.

Luckily, the UGA College of Education's Early Career Principal Residency Program was there to help.

The program, an outreach effort in association with the Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy, accepts up to 25 principals who have been in the position for three years or less. Leaders from across the state teach topics such as school culture and climate, developing and retaining teachers, budgeting and resources, law and ethics, and using data. When each 18-month cohort comes to a close, participants not only have a new understanding of their position, but they also have a network of peers across the state for additional help and guidance in the future.

Learn more about our next cohort

Painting a Bigger Picture

In the wake of hurricane Katrina, Richard O. Welsh, an assistant professor in the Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy, found himself wading through new educational territory.

His initial graduate research was on school quality and student mobility in post-Katrina New Orleans, but with so many changes to the city's school district and new figures entering school politics, Welsh became immersed in the larger forces that drive student success. He wanted to contribute to a better understanding of educational equity and policy issues, and help train the next generation of researchers and educational leaders to continue this work.

Welsh is one of several faculty who empower educational leaders to see outside the box, painting their own picture of student success. For example, his colleague, associate professor Sheneka Williams, investigates policies that reflect the unique needs of rural school districts. Assistant professor Walker Swain looks at poverty and inequity through the lens of policies, seeking education-based solutions that create change in a community.

Connecting to Classrooms

Educator preparation is at the very heart of what we do, which is why many of our departments work to improve professional development for teachers. This knowledge also informs our current students, who enter the workforce with the latest research-backed skills.

A New Model

This fall, dozens of high school biology teachers in Georgia and Alabama will return to their classrooms with a new approach to teach challenging concepts in their curriculum, such as cellular respiration and photosynthesis. Their lessons are the result of a National Science Foundation-funded grant led by associate professor Daniel Capps in the Department of Mathematics and Science Education, who is investigating new ways to teach difficult scientific concepts using modeling.

During a summer workshop, teachers like Matt Dahlke learned a new approach to teaching cellular respiration. After developing a model for the energy processes that take place throughout cellular respiration, they used it to organize and make sense of different events in the complicated concept.

Learn More about the Project

A Bilingual Education

The dual-language program at a local elementary school continued to expand this past year thanks to the work of professor-in-residence Lou Tolosa-Casadont, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education.

Now in its third year, the project has expanded to provide instruction in both Spanish and English in pre-K through second grade. Parents sing the praises of the program, which highlights the multicultural aspect of the school as one of its strongest assets, and teachers enjoy the new connections they are making with non-native English speakers. Tolosa-Casadont provides in-school professional development, helps teachers create dual-language curricula, works directly with students, and leads class activities.

Support the Development of Future Teachers

Let's Talk About It

It's been three years since the College of Education's Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education completed its federally funded, randomized control trial to test the efficacy of its innovative, culturally responsive pedagogical model that encourages cooperation and dialog among students to increase their academic and linguistic achievement.

Since then, CLASE has been energized by its success. As of summer 2018, through its P-12 professional learning initiative, the center's staff has trained nearly 700 teachers and administrators across the Southeast. As more school districts sign on for training, the team has created a sustainable model to support trained teachers and add new ones. Workshops take place throughout the year, district-specific follow-up training is available upon request, and research continues into the instructional model's results—which are consistently positive when compared with no interventions.

Telling Their Stories

When teachers see themselves as writers—and do it themselves—they become more effective and inspirational in their teaching of it. This is why the College of Education hosts workshops throughout the year for teachers called the Red Clay Writing Project, as well as the intensive Summer Institute for Red Clay Fellows program.

Professor Stephanie Jones and associate professor Hilary Hughes, both of the Department of Educational Theory and Practice, provide a space for teachers to slow down, focus on themselves, and experiment outside their comfort zone. It's sometimes messy. It's sometimes hard. But the process, and the relationship teachers form with their skill, in turn challenges their students to become better writers, too.

'It's both daunting and exciting to be the first to conduct research on this topic.'

Carly Wender, doctoral student studying how virtual reality and exercise can address anxiety, depression, and chronic pain

Be Your Best

We share a deep sense of duty and dedication to help populations across all segments of society achieve their best. Through academic programs such as counseling, communication sciences and disorders, and kinesiology, we are serving communities and improving human lives.

Community Minded

The range of training opportunities, assessments, groups, and community interactions undertaken by students in the College's Department of Counseling and Human Development Services is connected by an underlying motivation: passion for social justice and multicultural issues. Doctoral student Rebekah Ingram, who is in the counseling psychology program, is representative of many students enrolled in the department's M.Ed. and Ph.D. programs. In addition to her coursework, she sees clients through UGA's Center for Counseling, conducts a group session, conducts socio-emotional and intelligence assessments, and holds leadership positions within the American Psychological Society. Ingram also gains research experience through ¡BIEN! Research, overseen by associate dean and professor Edward Delgado-Romero, and assists associate dean and professor Anneliese Singh with an NIH-funded study on trans resilience.

Moving Toward Virtual Reality

A recent trend in exercise training involves high-intensity interval training, or short bursts in between periods of recovery. But with this type of training, especially when done on indoor equipment, are there mental barriers that keep people from performing their best?

Doctoral student Carly Wender, who has an interest in virtual reality, came to the Department of Kinesiology wondering how this technology might play a role. Professor Patrick J. O'Connor, who studies psychology related to exercise, took her up on the project. Together, they devised a study to investigate how participants perform during a few minutes on a stationary cycle while wearing a VR headset.

Reading for Success

The College recently created the online Graduate Certificate in Dyslexia to train more educators, clinicians, and specialists to meet the needs of students with reading disabilities. No other institution of higher education in Georgia offers focused training in dyslexia as part of a graduate degree program or as a stand-alone graduate certificate.

The program, which received a gift from the Zeist Foundation to support two cohorts of teachers, combines coursework, 30 hours of training in the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading intervention, and hands-on experience.

'Before my daughter's accident, I never thought about what it was like to have a brain injury.'

Scott Dougan, UGA associate professor whose daughter received a traumatic brain injury following a car accident two years ago

Moving From Potential to Possible

Our labs, clinics, and research centers help create new knowledge related to physical activity, physical and mental difficulties, and physical education. And through their work, as well as other outreach activities, faculty and students share expertise with those who benefit from it.

Neuromusculoskeletal Health Lab

Along with instruments to measure brain function and muscle strength in this new lab is a small device not much bigger than a bathroom scale. This portable plate vibrates when you step on it, and the muscle contractions that take place as you feel the vibrations are key in the research done by Christopher Modlesky, UGA Athletic Association Professor of Kinesiology. He is interested in how these small contractions help improve muscle quality, strength, and balance in children with cerebral palsy.

Sensorimotor Neuroscience Lab

Every time you move or speak, a series of complex connections takes place in your brain to make that happen. But if there is a short circuit in that system—caused by, for example, a stroke or a progressive disease—movement, vision, or language skills may be forever altered. The work done by assistant professor Tarkeshwar Singh in the Department of Kinesiology connects the brain with movement, combining an electroencephalogram with an eye-tracking robot to identify where these breakdowns in communication occur and how they might be fixed.

School Psychology Clinic

In addition to conducting psychological educational evaluations, the College's School Psychology Clinic now offers autism diagnostic assessments. The new service helps fill a critical need in the community, as many parents often travel to Atlanta for similar services—and also face a long waiting list. Also, through a partnership with the UGA Disability Resource Center, the clinic now offers groups for young adults with autism spectrum disorder.

A Thought Process

When a student is navigating life with a brain injury, it's not obvious to everyone. Unfortunately, what's also not obvious is any type of accommodation they may need to tackle the demands of college, such as extra time for an exam or receiving class notes in advance. But there are ways colleges can support these students, and new research in the Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education is identifying how this can be done. Assistant professor Katy O'Brien is working with the Shepherd Center in Atlanta to assess students' perceptions of concussions and traumatic brain injuries, interview students about their experiences, and determine what policies and procedures might be put in place.

Exploring New Ideas

Solutions to grand global challenges start in our classrooms, where faculty make new connections in how we learn. And through these connections, we give our students an opportunity to do more, achieve more, and become more. The results of pushing these educational boundaries are unconventional pairings—and positive results.

Collaboration is Key

When a child is born with complex physical and educational needs, it's up to a range of service providers to come together and form a personalized support plan. To help future speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists develop skills for this kind of collaboration, associate professor Rebecca Lieberman-Betz in the Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education is leading a new project called the Preparation of Interdisciplinary Providers, or PIPs. The program launched this past summer with its first group of graduate students.

Making Connections

Children in rural Honduras have a new way to explore connections between science, technology, engineering, and math and their community through small, motorized machines. Faculty in the Research and Innovation in Learning lab (RAIL), part of the Department of Career and Information Studies, are empowering students to be better problem solvers through a robotics-based curriculum. Developed by College of Education researchers, the lessons have been translated into several languages and used in Asia, Central America, and Africa.

Bridging Pen and Keyboard

Cursive writing may be gone from many school curricula, but it doesn't mean it's forgotten. Especially for high school students in Wilkes County, who learned to read cursive to compile family histories. The old wills and deeds students are pouring through are part of a larger lesson in literacy and research, and associate professor T.J. Kopcha in the Department of Career and Information Studies is assisting with developing the curriculum.

Telling Their Stories

A partnership has blossomed in the past year between faculty in the College's Department of Language and Literacy Education, the Athens Housing Authority, and residents of Parkview Homes, a neighborhood adjacent to campus. Earlier this year, they worked with UGA's College of Environment and Design to re-envision the purpose of the neighborhood's community center with lots of input from residents. Now, graduate students in a class taught by associate professor Kevin J. Burke will partner with middle and high school students to conduct oral histories and create a mural with a local artist.

'As a scholarship recipient, I have been able to further fund my doctoral research in the College of Education.'

Claudette Tucker, mathematics education doctoral student and scholarship recipient

Alumni Connections

Whether it's at an on-campus event or an update about a new innovation designed half a world away, we're always excited to connect with our former students. We host events for alumni throughout the year, encouraging them to visit campus and meet current students. We also feature stories about our alumni around Georgia and around the world on our website, in our annual alumni magazine, and through our social media channels.

58,000+ Living Alumni

You can find alumni of the UGA College of Education in each of Georgia's 159 counties, including two in Webster County (population 2,600) and two in Quitman County (population 1,800). Which county is home to the largest number of graduates? Gwinnett, with 4,296. Clarke and Fulton counties are nearly tied for second place, with about 3,300 alumni living in each.

Outside of Georgia, you can find our alumni in all 50 states, along with Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We also have alumni in 76 countries around the world—including 195 people in China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan alone!

2018 Alumni Awards

Our annual awards ceremony, which took place at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, honored six alumni for their achievements, both professionally and in service to the College. Winners named earlier this year at the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards were (from left) Matt Arthur (Lifetime Achievement Award), Marc Grimmett (Outstanding Educator Award), Johnny and Rubye Sanders (Outstanding Service Award), Rebecca Miller (Professional Achievement Award), and Candice Hargons (Outstanding Young Alumni Award).

Learn more

UGA-Wide Honors

Two alumni, Tameka Rish (M.Ed. '03) and Michael Williams (B.S.Ed. '01, M.B.A. '06), were named to UGA's 40 Under 40 class of 2018 this spring. Meanwhile, the ninth annual Bulldog 100 list, which was released in late 2017, included seven businesses owned by College of Education alumni. This year's fastest-growing businesses with ties to the College were ActiveKidz and Adult Therapy Services, Avid Bookshop, Burney-Campbell Investments LLC, Crisp Video Group, Extra Special People, Parisleaf, and Resource Alliance.