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Annual Report

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Our Mission The School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to realizing the transformative power of education, and — in turn — is redefining what it means to educate. Education has the power to break down barriers, lift up individuals, and empower communities to rise and thrive. To that end, we inspire educators to lead; to think creatively, act with passion, and strive toward equity for all.



RANKINGS 6 RESEARCH 8 LEADERSHIP 10 FACULT Y 12 Endowed Faculty 14 Journal Editors 15 New Faculty 16 Faculty Features 18 Faculty News 22 STAFF 25 DEGREE PROGRAMS Program News

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STUDENTS 28 Enrollment 29 Student Features 30 Student News 37 DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI RELATIONS Development Totals Board of Visitors Alumni Council Alumni Awards

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Peabody Hall, Campus Box 3500 Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3500 (919) 966-1346 soe.hello@unc.edu ed.unc.edu Produced and Published by UNC School of Education Office of External Relations Designed by Madiha Malik

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A Message from the Dean

Friends and Fellow Educators, Education has never been more important than right now. We have long said this, but if all members of our society are to thrive, survive even, education must take a leading role. In spring 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses and schools and forced families to educate their children within their homes. While memes made light of the situation, the takeaway from this stay-at-home time was clear: Educators are professionals essential to our society, professionals who not only lead inside classrooms to provide an educational foundation to ensure the success of their students, but who also are committed to the safety and well-being of those students. I am proud to say that the UNC School of Education provided resources and expertise to families struggling with educating their children at home and a timely discussion about the most vulnerable students and how we could help them while schools were closed. At nearly the same time, media laid bare what many of us already knew: Our country remains unequal for Black, Brown and Indigenous people. People of color continue to endure systemic and structural racism, police brutality, injustices, and atrocities.

In addition to being incredible scholars, our Black, Brown, and Indigenous colleagues at Carolina have graciously shared their experiences and perspectives, often painful and exhausting to relive and reconsider, to help our School and University find a way forward in response to this dual pandemic. I am also proud to say that faculty member Dana Griffin agreed to take on a new role at the School — Dean’s Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She will work with our community members to make the School more inclusive and work with our faculty members to strengthen their teaching, research, and service to help eliminate inequity and racism in schools and in our country. This is why we do the work that we do — to realize the potential of education to solve the world’s most pressing problems. As a community, we are recognized for our dedication to this work. We are the No. 24 school of education according to U.S. News & World Report, the No. 14 public school of education, and the No. 1 school of education in North Carolina. But rankings are just that, rankings. There is work to be done, and we are committed to doing it. We will continue to strengthen the minds, spirits, and resolve of our students, faculty, and staff in our work to Propel the World. All my best,

Fouad Abd-El-Khalick Dean and Professor

U.S. News & World Report Rankings










2021 Specialty Rankings

11 18 18 18 20 21 NO.


NO .











Rise in Rankings For its 2021 guide, U.S. News & World Report ranked the School No. 24 among U.S. schools that grant doctoral degrees in education — rising 11 places since 2017. The School ranked No. 14 among schools of education at public universities and No. 1 among schools of education in North Carolina. The rankings reflect the impact the UNC School of Education has in teaching and research. Schools are ranked based on quality assessments from peer institutions and school superintendents, faculty research activity, student selectivity, and faculty resources.



Advancing Knowledge, Driving Innovation Faculty members at the UNC School of Education and their collaborators at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and beyond pursue innovative educational research and projects. They explore the nature of learning that contributes to effective teaching, data-driven classroom interventions and curricula improvements, insightful analysis leading to informed policies, and evidence-based advancements in educator preparation.

Total Research Expenditures (millions) $13.83m $11.64m $10.06m $7.48m



$6.97m $5.73m $4.75m










A New Home for Research in Peabody Hall Beginning fall 2020, the UNC School of Education has a new, 21st century agile work space designed to meet our growing needs for research infrastructure. The Research Commons features reconfigurable furniture, ideation tools, and stateof-the-art technology to facilitate collaborations among and between research teams of graduate students and faculty members in the School, as well as with their campus, national, and global partners.


Leadership The UNC School of Education is led by a dynamic team of education researchers and professionals focused on the success of our students, the School, and the field.

Fouad Abd-El-Khalick Dean

At right is the leadership team at the UNC School of Education entering the 2020-21 academic year.

Harriet Able Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Director of Graduate Studies

Jill V. Hamm Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development


Diana B. Lys

Shauna Harris

Assistant Dean for Educator Preparation and Accreditation

Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

David Churchill

Leslie Deslis

Assistant Dean for Finance and Operations

Assistant Dean for Development

Dana Griffin Dean’s Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Faculty From promising young scholars to our fields’ preeminent researchers to forward-thinking experts preparing the next generation of educators, the UNC School of Education is home to a world-class faculty. Our faculty members advance knowledge, drive innovation, and empower future education leaders. Our faculty members are often called on to who move forward conversations about education — in the media, in largescale collaborative projects, in advisory roles to government leaders, in field-leading academic journals, and more.

54 35%


Faculty by Rank








Faculty Members

Faculty Diversity % Racial and Ethnic Diversity among Faculty 30



















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Endowed Faculty Members Our faculty members in the UNC School of Education are distinguished in their areas of research, and we are able to recognize some of those faculty members with the distinction of endowed professorships.

Gregory J. Cizek Guy B. Phillips Professor

Jeffrey A. Greene McMichael Distinguished Professor

Lora Cohen-Vogel Frank A. Daniels Jr. Distinguished Professor

Jill V. Hamm William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Education

Dorothy L. Espelage William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Education

Troy D. Sadler Thomas James Distinguished Professor of Experiential Learning

R. Keith Sawyer Morgan Distinguished Professor of Educational Innovations Matthew G. Springer Robena and Walter E. Hussman Jr. Distinguished Professor of Education Reform Lynda Stone Samuel M. Holton Distinguished Professor

Leading math education scholar Dionne Cross Francis joins faculty as Neikirk Professor Dionne Cross Francis, a leading scholar and teacher educator in mathematics education, joined the School as the Joseph R. Neikirk Term Professor effective July 1, 2020.

Cross Francis holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, and a doctorate degree in educational psychology from the University of Georgia.

Cross Francis came to Chapel Hill from the School of Education at Indiana University Bloomington, where she was an associate professor. At IU, she also directed the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration.

Cross Francis’s impact in the field of mathematics education is reflected in numerous awards and honors. She was awarded the national K-12 Promotion of Education Award from the 2014 Women of Color STEM Conference for promoting STEM education for women and minorities; the Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ Junior Faculty Enhancement Award; the American Psychological Association Division 15 Early Career Award; and the University of Georgia’s Young Alumni Award. While at IU’s School of Education, she was also honored with the Students’ Choice for Excellence in Teaching Award, the Graduate Student Mentoring Award, and the Trustee’s Teaching Award for her work with pre-service teachers and graduate students.

An advocate for improving quality of and access to mathematics education for both teachers and students, Cross Francis brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Carolina. Cross Francis’s work is focused on investigating the relationships among psychological constructs and how the interplay between these constructs influence teachers’ instructional decision-making prior to and during the act of teaching, in particular mathematics. Through her research, she aims to understand both the contextual and teacher-specific factors that motivate teacher actions as they plan and instruct, which is essential for determining the optimal design features of professional development that allow teachers to thrive. Her research — which has been supported by state and federal funding totaling several million dollars — has informed the design and implementation of professional development initiatives nationally and internationally.

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She is also the recipient of a Fulbright award, one of the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world, to Ghana for the 2020-21 academic year.

She is co-editor and co-author of two books, “Research on Teacher Identity: Mapping Challenges and Innovations” and “Teachers’ Goals, Beliefs, Emotions, and Identity Development: Investigating Complexities in the Profession.” Her research has been published in top journals, including Journal of Mathematical Behavior, Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Teacher College Record, Educational Studies in Mathematics, and Teaching and Teacher Education.

Home to our fields’ premier journals Our researchers are actively engaged at the forefront of their communities of scholarship. Five of our faculty members serve as co-editors of our fields’ leading academic journals, collaborating with editorial team members from institutions across the nation and globe to push their areas of scholarship. The rigorous and cutting-edge research featured in these publications expand and strengthen our understandings in educational fields and drive practice in P-20 educational institutions and communities.

Educational Psychologist Jeffrey A. Greene, McMichael Distinguished Professor, began duties as co-editor of Educational Psychologist, one of the top journals in educational research and the journal of Division 15 (Educational Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. He serves alongside co-editor Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia, a professor at Michigan State University’s College of Education.

Educational Researcher Associate Professor Thurston “Thad” Domina is one of five co-editors leading Educational Researcher, the premiere academic journal of the American Educational Research Association. He shares co-editor responsibilities with June Ahn, an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine; Andrew McEachin, a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and a core faculty member at the Pardee RAND Graduate School; Dana Thompson Dorsey, an associate professor and associate director of research and development for the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh; and Sarah Woulfin, an associate professor at the University of Connecticut.

Equity & Excellence in Education Esther Ohito, an assistant professor who specializes in curriculum studies, Black studies, teacher education, and feminist-oriented qualitative research, was named a co-editor of the journal Equity & Excellence in Education for a three-year term. Her fellow co-editors include Jamila Lyiscott and Keisha Green, both of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Justin A. Coles of Fordham University. Equity & Excellence in Education publishes articles and essays that describe and assess efforts to achieve educational equity, and explores topics explored that include social justice issues in school systems, individual schools, classrooms, and/or the social justice factors that contribute to inequality in learning for students from diverse social group backgrounds.

Journal of Research in Science Teaching Troy D. Sadler, Thomas James Distinguished Professor of Experiential Learning, serves as coeditor — with Felicia Moore Mensah of Teachers College at Columbia University — of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. JRST is the leading academic journal in the field of science education and is the official journal of NARST. The journal was previously co-edited, from 20142019, by Dean Fouad Abd-El-Khalick and professor Dana Zeidler from the University of South Florida. Associate Professor Kihyun “Kelly” Ryoo, who previously was an editorial review board member for the journal, serves as an associate editor.

The Urban Review Professor Sherick Hughes serves as editor of The Urban Review, a journal devoted to examining issues around improvement of urban schooling and education. The Urban Review was previously co-edited by retired professor George Noblit. Doctoral students Danny Gibboney and Cortland Gilliam serve as managing editors.

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New Faculty Members Over the past three years, the UNC School of Education has welcomed 21 new faculty members, bolstering an already world-class faculty. Those new faculty members joined us from across the country — from California and Oregon to New England, from the Midwest to Florida, and everywhere in between — and from many of the nation’s most prestigious institutions.

Dorothy Espelage William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Education A leading authority on student well-being and school safety

In fall 2019, the following tenure-track faculty members brought to the School critical expertise that holds the potential to change fields in education for years to come.

Daniel Klasik Assistant Professor A researcher working to understand how students negotiate college access and admissions, and to create effective policy

Esther Ohito Assistant Professor A leader in research that addresses the role of race in teacher education programs

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Kara Hume

Ethan Hutt

Associate Professor Co-PI of the Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Assistant Professor Historian of educational testing and assessment of students and educators

Kathryn Leech

Constance Lindsay

Assistant Professor An expert in children’s language and literacy development

Assistant Professor A researcher focused on policies and practices to help close racial achievement gaps

Troy Sadler

Lauren Sartain

Thomas James Distinguished Professor of Experiential Learning A renowned scholar working to understand how students negotiate complex socioscientific issues

Assistant Professor A leading researcher studying a range of topics in urban education policy

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Dana Griffin Dismantling the ‘isms’: Meet the inaugural Dean’s Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Effective Aug. 1, 2020, Dana Griffin, an associate professor in school counseling, began a three-year appointment as the inaugural Dean’s Fellow

She graduated from William & Mary with an English degree and a love for the novels and poetry written by Black women. She took an entry-level job with a

for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the School. In this role, she will advise and work with leadership, faculty, staff, and students to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion across the School, and sustain a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming community that upholds the highest standards of excellence. Get to know Dana and read a brief Q&A (on the opposite page) with her about her hopes for the role and the School.

credit card company, calling borrowers to collect their balance, but also listening to their stories, sympathizing with them, validating their stories, and working with them to pay whatever amount they could no matter how small. Self-admittedly, she was very good at this job. It revealed her strength in connecting with people and showed her that she could succeed as a counselor.

When it came to thinking about her future and career plans as a junior in high school, Dana Griffin wasn’t thinking about college. “My outlook was to work at the local department store,” said Griffin, the inaugural Dean’s Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “I was thinking, ‘When I graduate, I can work there full time and work my way up to store manager.’ That was my goal.”

Griffin graduated from Hampton University with a master’s degree in counseling and began work as a school counselor at a middle school in Hampton, Virginia, where she served a diverse population. Some students were homeless. Many came from military families and underrepresented communities. “I felt needed in that I could be helpful especially for the students of color and lowincome kids because I could use my experience,” she said. “I was able to build their hope for their future. I talked about college.”

Growing up in rural Virginia with a single mom and in poverty, Griffin said no one told her that she could succeed. Neither counselors nor teachers talked to her about applying to or going to college.

Equally important as her work within her school was her work within the community. She joined a church and built relationships with families distrustful of local schools. She worked to ensure that people’s voices were heard.

It was during Griffin’s junior year that a teacher — not her teacher, but one of the few Black teachers in the school — gave her an application for a program at the College of William & Mary that brought low-income, firstgeneration college students to campus.

After four years of counseling, she wanted to use her experiences to train the next generations of school counselors, giving them the tools and insights to connect with students, families, and communities. Since earning a Ph.D. from William & Mary in 2007, Griffin has been a faculty member at Carolina doing just that.

Her plans to manage the department store changed; she had always excelled in science so she declared pre-med as her major.

Much of her work to educate future counselors today involves anti-racism. It’s the one thing she believes all counselors need to adopt. Almost all counselors have been trained in cultural competence, but for the current times, Griffin said that’s not enough. When evidence and data show that students are marginalized in schools, counselors should advocate and take action.

But once on campus, an advisor told her that she should major in English. “It was what I now know as systemic racism,” Griffin said. “I didn’t know it then. My advisor, a white man, said, ‘You can’t become a doctor.’ “Based on my mom’s experience growing up in the tail end of Jim Crow in the South, she always knew white people were in power. She was never an activist. It was all about survival, minding your business, and not drawing attention to yourself because the alternative could mean death. I was raised to follow the rules. So when my advisor said, ‘This is not for you,’ I just said ‘OK.’ I was following the rules.”

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“Historically, when I’m counseling you, the individual, I am insinuating that the problem is within you,” Griffin said. “When we think about students who are marginalized — Black students, Latinx students, low-income students, students in poverty, students who have a different gender or sexual identity — the problem is external. If we want to address the problems of marginalized students, we have to address the external problem, not the student. “We teach them to cope, but we need to be more proactive in trying to dismantle the ‘isms.’”

Q&A with Dana Griffin What are your hopes for this new Dean’s Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion position? Change. This position was created in response to recent national events, racial events, so I know this is a needed position. I also know that this is going to be a hard job because it involves change and going against the status quo, and change is difficult. I’m stepping into it with my eyes wide open. The Civil Rights Movement, we’re still in it. It takes years, but change … that’s my hope. And I hope people are willing to change or at least to see different viewpoints and be willing to let go of the “this is how we have always done things in the past” mindset. There are things happening across the University that impact the School, and there are things that go on within the School as well. I hope to make sure that we have structures in place where our Black students, students of color, Indigenous students, or students from oppressed groups can feel supported and heard. I want to make sure our students do not have negative experiences related to their ethnicity, their gender, or their culture. So addressing that is one thing that I mean when I say “change.” That means that we have to look at how we educate our students, the things we talk about in our classrooms, understand the power of the language we use in describing people and things i.e., describing Black and Brown kids and their families as threatening, uneducated, uninvolved, or using terms like “bad neighborhoods” or “broken homes.” One thing we can do is provide a critical look at our course material, the readings, and assignments. Are we truly providing students with knowledge about the history of our profession and how our current theoretical frameworks may be steeped in white supremacy? Are we teaching them to disrupt the system and to advocate for students? We need to ask each other these questions, be willing to engage, and discuss how our pedagogies or curriculum need to change. I hope to facilitate — not tell someone what they need to teach or how they need to teach — the conversations around our teaching. Ultimately, it benefits our students, all of our educational disciplines, and most importantly, the students and educators in schools.

Do you have any action steps that you see as immediately achievable? The first thing that I want to accomplish is to get a sense of people’s viewpoints. I can’t make change immediately. My goal is not to come in and say, “Everything we’re doing is wrong, and this is how we’re going to do it.” That sets us all up for failure, and it doesn’t create a sense of community. I want everyone to know that we are all in this together. I also do not see myself as an expert. I’m all about learning together. I want to understand everyone’s perspectives and hear everyone’s voice. I want to do more than just bring people to the table; I want to build a new table together. I don’t want to use the old table because the old table is the status quo. I want to bring voices of the silenced, of the oppressed, of the marginalized to this new table. We all have knowledge and perspectives and expertise that we can use to dismantle the ’isms. Unity is a powerful tool.

for some, equity work is done in addition to the jobs they were hired to do. This role allows time to make diversity, equity, and inclusion a top priority. I want to continue to work with the people already doing the work because that’s their passion, they are good at it, and together we can get more accomplished. In my 13 years here, issues have been raised around diversity, equity, and inclusion. People have raised their voices, but the issues continue. They are pervasive. Many of our institutions, the University and our School included, have been built on a foundation of racism and white supremacy. So distrust exists in our building from those who have been victimized by racism and white supremacy. I believe this role can begin to build bridges of trust. It won’t fix the issues immediately. But this role shows a commitment to addressing issues that exist. It shows that our leaders realize these issues are real problems that some members of our community face and that they are willing to dedicate resources to addressing them.

What does it mean for you to be asked to take on this role? Why are you the right person for it? As I mentioned before, there are many people in the School who could take on this role and who would be really good at it, probably better at it than myself. The Dean asked me, and after discussions with trusted colleagues, family, and friends, I accepted. I will be good at it because of my counseling background. I am trained to listen. I am trained to facilitate. Those are some of my greatest skills and strengths. I’m all about relationship building. And while this is a leadership role, I’m not looking at this from a position of power. I lead by following, by listening, by creating relationships, by pulling people together and building on the expertise that we all have, regardless of your role — faculty, staff, or student. We all need to be 100% invested. I hope to get us all invested, and then we can be ready to take action on improving the racial and equity issues at the School. Relationships are so important when you do this type of work. It’s the same way that I train school counselors to work with schools, families, and communities to ensure student success. The trust and the relationships have to be there for you all to come together and work together. As I have tried to survive in our new world of COVID-19, on top of trying to survive our world where I can be killed at the hands of police, I never thought about stepping into a leadership role to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Yet, I am here. In some ways, I do not see myself as a leader, even as I led the School’s Faculty Executive Council for the last year. I see myself as a person who works behind the scenes, hopefully leading by example. Yet, I am here. And I am humbly asking for your support, your engagement, and your commitment to creating sustainable changes around diversity, equity, and inclusion. I do not want to lead you; I want us to do this together. “We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” —Gwendolyn Brooks

How can a role like this make our School a better school of education? We definitely have people in the School who are dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s central to their teaching, research, and service. But FA C U LT Y / 1 9

A School Committed to Serving Students, Families, and Communities Even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the School continued and adapted the work it does on behalf of students, families, and communities. Our faculty and staff members, graduate students, and alumni cared for their students and families

Before Troy Sadler, the Thomas James Distinguished Professor of Experiential Learning, began a career in higher education, he taught high school science. In that setting, he used debates about science topics as a way to engage students apathetic toward science. Before COVID-19 made its way to the U.S., he saw the effects of the virus afar as a way to show the real-world importance of science to high schoolers today, increasing their science knowledge and literacy. Made possible by a National Science Foundation grant, Sadler and colleagues at the University of Missouri developed learning modules for teachers to help students understand issues around the pandemic and how science could be used to inform solutions and personal decisions.

in extraordinary ways. Staff members pivoted our courses to remote instruction. Faculty members shared expertise and created resources for homebound students and their families. The following offers a glimpse of how our faculty members helped the School and North Carolinians to navigate the difficult times. For a full list of resources, visit ed.unc.edu/covid19-resources

Jeff Greene, the McMichael Distinguished Professor in Learning Sciences and Psychological Studies, offered guidelines and suggestions for families to keep their homebound students engaged with their studies. Greene, an expert in how we learn, also hosted a Facebook Live Q&A, answering questions for families teaching children at home and providing insights for educators teaching remotely.

Associate Professor Kara Hume has spent more than 30 years, in a variety of capacities, helping children and young adults on the autism spectrum and their families. Knowing the pandemic would likely mean a pause in everyday services provided for children with autism, she and colleagues from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and UNC Allied Health Sciences quickly developed and launched the online toolkit “Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain Times” for parents and caregivers of individuals with autism. The toolkit resources have been downloaded more than 200,000 times, and demand was so great that it was translated for audiences who speak Japanese, Spanish, Polish, Chinese, Italian, Swedish, and Urdu. A cultural adaptation for South Africa was also created.

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Associate Professor Dana Griffin shared timely expertise about empathy and well-being on “Connecting Conversations,” a podcast produced by UNC World View, a public service program to equip educators with global knowledge, best practices, and resources to prepare students to engage in an interconnected world. As the first guest on the inaugural episode, Griffin reminded us to be kind to ourselves and each other. She also shared her three strategies to help navigate the turbulent times: 1) Take time to disconnect from the constant information about what’s happening, 2) Recalibrate your expectations and create routines that work for you, and 3) Spend time with family because there are new opportunities to learn and grow in that time.

Clinical Assistant Professor Alison LaGarry-Cahoon and doctoral teaching assistant Lucia Mock Muñoz de Luna altered the structure and purpose of their “Art, Education, and Social Change” course. They modified assignments, included flexibility in deadlines, moved the class to an asynchronous model, and modified the content to focus on their students’ experiences during the health crisis. They took steps in an effort to refocus the course so that it provided “a community of care,” according to Mock. Mock went on to say, “As they have done throughout this semester, our students have responded with extraordinary openness, enthusiasm, and brilliant insight into the changing world around them.” Shortly before the School pivoted to remote instruction, LaGarry-Cahoon was honored with the Student Undergraduate Teaching and Staff Award, a campus-wide award presented by Carolina students.

Before returning to his alma mater as a clinical assistant professor, Chris Scott spent 15 years in school and district leadership positions. When schools closed and media narratives focused on remote learning and teaching, Scott asked the question: What about our most vulnerable students? The pandemic also compromises student safety and well-being. Teachers and school leaders are primary reporters of abuse, neglect, and other issues of wellness. To approach those challenges, Scott assembled the online discussion “Beyond Online Learning: Student Safety and Well-Being During Coronavirus,” which brought together a range of school professionals and faculty member Dorothy Espelage, a leading expert in bullying, school violence, and harassment.

Creating a ‘mixed reality’ to prevent adolescent suicide

A career development grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will help Marisa Marraccini, assistant professor of school psychology, develop and conduct initial testing of a “mixed reality” supplement to interventions for adolescents being treated in hospitals for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The funding comes from a National Institutes of Health career development grant program – the K Series — that supports promising scientists at early stages of their careers. The $625,000 grant will support four years of development and testing of an intervention that uses “mixed reality” — including both virtual and augmented realities — technology as a supplement to the treatment adolescents receive in hospitals for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The intervention will enable adolescents to view and react to simulations of situations they may encounter when they return to school, giving them an opportunity to rehearse their reactions. Marraccini has led research that aims to promote child and adolescent mental health in the context of their school settings. Her research is focused on supporting adolescents struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors, youth at risk for bullying, and students with ADHD, and on improving access to mental health supports across hospital and school settings.

“After kids leave the hospital, they’re often cycled back into schools with many of the initial triggers of their suicidal urges, ones that are often unidentified and unaddressed,” she said. “So, the idea is to build into our in-patient practice a supplement to existing treatment that helps kids identify triggers in the school that need to be addressed and practice using cognitive-behavioral skills in virtual settings to address them.” The mixed reality program will be used in sessions in which students receive training in cognitive behavioral therapy, teaching them how to monitor their reactions to difficult situations and to rehearse ways to handle them, Marraccini said. The mixed reality program will simulate situations that students returning to school may encounter, such as being stopped in a hallway by someone asking questions about where the student has been. “The premise is that in the hospital there’s really no way to practice responding to what students will face in schools in a meaningful way,” she said. “This will prepare them for their return to school, but also enhance their skill mastery and hopefully push them to use their skills because they’ve had opportunities to practice. “The goal of this is to be a brief intensive supplement to what the hospitals are already doing,” Marraccini said.

There’s a great need for additional help for adolescents leaving in-patient treatment centers, Marraccini said, citing research that shows adolescents with a history of suicidal thoughts and behaviors are at great risk when re-entering schools. Given the short duration of adolescent hospitalizations, most in-patient treatments for these adolescents seek to stabilize the patient in anticipation that treatment for recovery is ongoing after hospital discharge.

The intervention will be developed using a research and development protocol called “multiphasic optimization strategy,” or MOST, in which the program is developed with continual testing to optimize interventions so they include only the best set of intervention components. The prototype development phase will last two years, followed by another two years of more intensive assessment and evaluation.

Marraccini said her intervention — called “Practice Experiences for School Reintegration,” or PrESR — could enhance hospital-based therapeutic treatment to help adolescents in preparation for their return to school.

The expectation is that by the end of four years of development and initial testing, Marraccini will be equipped to apply for additional funding to conduct a fully powered MOST trial and randomized clinical trial examining the effects of PrESR.

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Faculty News Highlights in Research Carolina Advances Knowledge to Drive Educational Innovation Bernacki-led project establishes new measures of self-regulated learning A Carolina team led by Assistant Professor Matt Bernacki seeks to develop new ways to measure and assess self-regulated learning in a National Science Foundationfunded project. The $708,000 grant builds on NSFfunded work studying UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduates’ interactions with digital instructional resources used in face-to-face science and mathematics courses. The new project, which continues a collaboration with the UNC College of Arts & Sciences, focuses on making more accurate inferences from the data that students generate when they interact with computer-based materials used in the courses. The team plans to take lessons from real classes and observe students as they click on digital resources and describe their thinking processes as they use the materials to learn. Aligning students’ thinking and clicking will make clear how digital learning events reflect when students “self-regulate” their learning. “We are hopeful that this project will create new tools that researchers can use to study self-regulated learning,” Bernacki said. “Research into students’ tendency and ability to selfregulate learning has relied on cumbersome methods that generate rich data, surveys that lack detail and context, or digital traces alone, that are hard to interpret. “If we are successful, we’ll establish an efficient method to measure and assess self-regulated learning among large numbers of students. That will open new avenues to additional research aimed at better understandings of how students learn and how to teach them more effective learning practices.”

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Cizek examines validity in new book Gregory Cizek, Guy B. Phillips Professor of Educational Measurement and Evaluation, authored “Validity: An Integrated Approach to Test Score Meaning and Use,” which was published by Routledge. The book is intended to serve as an introduction to the two most fundamental aspects of defensible testing practice: the evidence that must get gathered to support the intended meaning of a test score and the evidence necessary for justifying the use of a test for some intended purpose.

Sartain works to identify best preparation of effective principals How are the most effective school principals prepared for their jobs? A team of researchers, including faculty member Lauren Sartain, seeks to answer that question as part of a project funded with a $1.4 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences. “We don’t know enough about how our best school leaders were prepared, what it is that enables them to be effective,” Sartain said. “We’re hopeful that with this project we’ll identify practices in leadership preparation that can be adopted more widely in principal-preparation programs.” The project — led by principal investigator Molly Gordon at the University of Chicago — examines data from Chicago Public Schools and Tennessee public schools and includes all principal candidates and new principals in Chicago and Tennessee from 2006-07 to 2017-18. Researchers will analyze three types of data: performance data on students and educators, data from surveys of teachers and school leaders, and interview and focus group data from school leaders, leadership preparation program staff, and those involved in principal hiring processes. Researchers will attempt to model leader and school outcomes as a function of various preservice characteristics and leadership pipeline characteristics.

Sawyer shares ‘The Creative Classroom’ With faculty member Keith Sawyer’s latest book, teachers can help their students reach higher academic achievements by using a style of teaching that develops “creative knowledge,” deeper understandings that students are more likely to recall and build upon. Sawyer, the Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations and a leading researcher on creativity and learning, authored “The Creative Classroom: Innovative Teaching for 21st Century Learners” published by Teachers College Press. Sawyer’s book aims to provide practical, research-proven approaches that can be used by teachers in all subjects to move away from an “instructionist” mode of teaching in which they simply tell students what they need to know.

Dong focused on advancing statistical methods Nianbo Dong, associate professor of quantitative methods, won a $900,000 grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to pursue research that promises to lead to improved methods of conducting educational and other social science research. One of eight grants awarded by the IES to support researchers seeking to develop improved research methods and statistical tools, Dong seeks to establish new statistical benchmarks for interpreting the size of intervention effects and provide reference values of parameters for planning multilevel randomized experiments in studies on social and behavioral outcomes.

In Memoriam Gerald “Gerry” Unks 1936-2019 Longtime UNC School of Education professor Gerald “Gerry” Unks died Saturday, November 9, 2019. He was 82. Unks, who retired in 2012 after 45 years of teaching, was regularly cited as a favorite professor, touching the lives of more than 24,000 Carolina students. The majority of those students — many of them non-education majors — sought out his course “Education in American Society” in which he delivered memorable lectures that were equal parts informative, humorous, and engaging. Those lectures often took place in Peabody Hall room 104, a lecture hall that now bears his name. Unks also was known to many Carolina alumni for leading trips abroad. He led more than 2,000 students for month-long summer study trips to London, and also took students to China and to the Soviet Union. Unks once said travel was important for helping students learn not only about the world, but about their own cultures and themselves.

For his commitment to opening students’ eyes to different cultures through travel, an anonymous donor designated an estate gift to the Gerald Unks Undergraduate Travel Fellowship. The fellowship continues to support students seeking study abroad opportunities. Born November 12, 1936, in Peoria, Illinois, Unks joined the Carolina faculty in 1967 after receiving his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He taught high school social studies in Evanston, Illinois, for six years before going to graduate school. At Carolina, Unks received 13 teaching awards, including four all-University teaching awards — the Tanner Award in 2002 and 2009, the Standard Oil Award in 1971, and the Amoco Award in 1977. The senior class and the General Alumni Association presented him with the Favorite Professor Award in 1990 and 2008. He also received the Outstanding Faculty Award three times – in 1999, 2000 and 2011; the award is given by the GAA, the Division of Student Affairs, and the student body. At the UNC School of Education, Unks served for 17 years as editor of the High School Journal, one of the oldest peer-reviewed academic journals in education. He also directed the School’s Honors Program since 1992. Unks wrote four books and numerous book chapters, journal articles, book reviews and other publications. He was a regular speaker at professional meetings and for campus and community groups. He helped create the documentary film “The Town Before Brown” that explored segregation in Chapel Hill before the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that ended “separate but equal” schooling.

Faculty News Anderson, Hamm help drive project that wins $2.9 million in NSF funding Faculty members Janice Anderson and Jill Hamm are co-principal investigators on a five-year project, led by the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, that will develop informal science education opportunities for diverse audiences in the state of North Carolina. The project is made possible by $2.86 million in funding from the National Science Foundation. The Morehead team will develop exhibits and programs highlighting scientific contributions that are not very well known while researchers from the School of Education will study the efficacy of those efforts. The project, called “Hidden No More: Shedding Light on Science Stories in the Shadows,” will engage audiences in science, technology, engineering and math content, provide understanding of work in STEM fields, and motivate participation in the nation’s STEM-based workforce.

Cohen-Vogel named editor of AERA Handbook of Education Policy Research Lora Cohen-Vogel, the Frank A. Daniels Professor of Public Policy and Education, has been named editor of a second volume of the “Handbook of Education Policy Research.” The book, first published by the American Educational Research Association in 2009, is the premiere text for the field of educational policy research. It is intended for scholars and graduate students, addressing the state of education policy research.

Springer leads $16 million project to integrate state services, improve welfare of North Carolina children Led by Matthew Springer, Hussman Distinguished Professor of Education Reform, the School is among other Carolina units taking part in a new $16 million partnership with Duke University and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to create innovative approaches to providing health and wellness services to children in five counties. The initiative — North Carolina Integrated Care for Kids — is one of only eight nationally awarded funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The collaborative effort aims to integrate services that children receive from different agencies and providers, including those for physical and behavioral health, housing, food, early care and education, and more — ultimately creating relationships and linking data to improve the welfare of North Carolina children. Assistant Professor Marisa Marraccini will work with Springer, providing expertise on mental health and well-being of students and preventing health risk behaviors.

Team including Hume wins $3.3 million autism research grant A team that includes School of Education faculty member Kara Hume won a $3.3 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to study educational interventions for students with autism. The five-year project will examine the effectiveness of a learning intervention that combines two approaches that have been studied by autism researchers — the SelfDetermined Learning Model of Instruction and peer supports. Both approaches have been studied independently and have shown to be effective in supporting learning among high school students with autism spectrum disorders in general education classrooms. As Co-PI, Hume will focus on measuring the effectiveness of the interventions.

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Staff News

UNC School of Education Staff Excellence Awards In spring 2020, the School awarded its inaugural Staff Excellence Awards to Audrey Fulton, director of undergraduate advising and student engagement, and Tammy Siler, program administrative support specialist. Fulton and Siler were nominated by faculty, staff, and students, and then selected for the award by a committee made up of fellow staff members. One of Fulton’s nominators said, “[Audrey] works tirelessly to ensure that all students within the School of Education feel seen, cared for, and acknowledged.” And one of Siler’s nominators said, “As we consider what meaningful community looks like or feels like at the School of Education, we could easily look to Tammy as a guide.”

Outstanding Encouragement of Learning and Development Award Leslie Deslis, assistant dean for development, won the 2020 Outstanding Encouragement of Learning and Development Award presented by the UNC Office of Human Resources. The award is given annually to a supervisor or manager who actively facilitates the participation of staff members in learning activities. Deslis was recognized for her support of a range of continuing education activities — conferences, academic courses, podcasts, cross-campus collaborations, and more — resulting in a creative and energized team.

UNC Diversity Awards Patricia Harris, the School’s recruitment director, won a 2020 UNC Diversity Award — one of two winners in the staff category for the campus-wide award. Carolina’s Diversity Awards recognize significant contribution, time, and effort of Carolina community members toward advancing an inclusive climate. Harris was recognized for her efforts to collaboratively grow student enrollment and expand the pipeline of diverse degree candidates.

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Empowering Future Scholars, Educators, and Leaders Doctoral Degree Programs Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Developmental Science and Special Education (Ph.D.) Doctor of Philosophy in Culture, Curriculum, and Teacher Education (Ph.D.) Doctor of Philosophy in Learning Sciences and Psychological Studies (Ph.D.) Doctor of Philosophy in Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement (Ph.D.) Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology (Ph.D.) Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Undergraduate Degree Programs Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Family Studies (B.A.Ed.) Bachelor of Arts in Human Organizational Leadership and Development (B.A.Ed.) Coming Soon Bachelor of Music in Music Education (B.M.Ed.) UNC Baccalaureate Education in Science and Teaching (B.A. or B.S.)

Master’s Degree Programs Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) Master of Education for Experienced Teachers (M.Ed.) Master of Education in School Counseling (M.Ed.) Master of School Administration (M.S.A.) Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (M.A.) Master of Education in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support (M.Ed.)

Licensure Programs Pathway to Practice NC Birth-Kindergarten, Pre-Kindergarten Licensure School Administration Licensure

Preparing Change Leaders New degree program will offer Carolina undergraduates a multidisciplinary approach to leadership

The HOLD course of study includes several cross-listed electives in business, education, communication, public policy, and sociology. HOLD also will offer, through the Carolina Union, leadership training to students involved in campus government and other student leadership activities.

The School of Education has received approval to launch a new bachelor of arts degree program for undergraduate students in Human Organizational Leadership and Development.

Internships are another key component of the new program.

The UNC Board of Governors approved the new program in May 2020. “We’re excited to receive the go-ahead to start this new program,” said Dean Fouad Abd-El-Khalick. “HOLD will be a most welcome and substantial addition to our undergraduate programs and provide an academic pathway for students interested in pursuing leadership positions in learning-focused organizations. HOLD will be among only a handful of similar cutting-edge programs around the nation.” HOLD is designed to offer a program of study that combines and builds upon courses in education, social science, policy, analytics, and leadership education, said faculty member Thurston “Thad” Domina, who led the effort to develop the program. “HOLD will offer a unique opportunity for students, as it is unlike any other program in the UNC System,” Domina said. “HOLD will have disciplinary foundations in sociology, political science, and organizational studies. It will also have a strong experiential learning component, providing students with structured internship and community work opportunities that will prepare them for leadership within a range of organizations.”

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“Integrating the internship experience gives students the chance to apply their classroom learning on the ground as they launch their careers,” Domina said. “The internship experiences will be carefully structured to help students connect and build upon their classroom learning.” The program is designed to build upon Carolina students’ commonly expressed interests in leadership development and enacting positive change, Domina said. “Carolina students just blow me away with their innovative and creative ways they hope to make a difference in the world,” he said. “And so, I hope that what the major can do is provide a place to bring students who are leaders across the campus together.” Domina said that through the internship component of the program, the School will build a community among alumni and organizations across North Carolina that will support students’ learning, while also providing them career-development networking opportunities. The School plans to launch the program in spring 2021.

A Commitment to Continuous Improvement in the Highest Quality Programs

School among 13 to win CAEP honor The UNC School of Education was among 13 educator-preparation programs from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico to win recognition for its work to adopt continuous improvement methods in its efforts to instill better ways to prepare teachers and other educators. The Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement, awarded by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), went to educator preparation programs that during the past year achieved re-accreditation from CAEP with no stipulations or identified areas for improvement. “This first class to receive the Murray Recognition represent the diversity and innovation that comes with CAEP accreditation. Small, large, public, private, faith-based, and historically minority serving,” said CAEP President Chris Koch. “These recipients reflect the creativity that CAEP affords in achieving excellence, by meeting the standards in a variety of ways, for the diverse populations they serve.”

Two EdPrepLab-funded projects to develop ‘deeper learning’ pedagogies in School programs School faculty members will collaborate with researchers at three other campuses to develop “deeper learning” pedagogies in educator-preparation programs in two projects backed by the Educator Preparation Laboratory, or EdPrepLab. The projects will build upon and extend efforts at the School to incorporate experiential learning practices in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program and to incorporate new practices in a redesign of the Master of School Administration (MSA) program. “Our programs are constantly evolving with research-informed best practices,” said Diana Lys, assistant dean for educator preparation and accreditation. “These collaborations inform and support our ability to prepare teachers and school leaders for tomorrow’s classrooms.” In 2019, the School joined EdPrepLab, an initiative led by the Learning Policy Institute and Bank Street Graduate School of Education that works to help educator preparation programs ensure that new teachers and leaders enter classrooms able to provide the kind of education that helps students develop “deeper learning” skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and the ability to apply knowledge in a range of contexts. Prepping principals for deeper learning MSA program faculty won EdPrepLab funding to explore integrating deep learning principles and practices into principalpreparation work.

The School’s re-accreditation followed a year-long review and a multi-day site visit in February 2019. A CAEP site visit team reviewed extensive documentation and conducted interviews of faculty, staff, students, and school district partners as part of its assessment of whether the educator-preparation at Carolina meets the accreditation body’s standards.

As part of a redesign of the MSA program, a team — which includes Martinette Horner and Chris Scott — has focused on developing intentional, engaging partnerships with local school districts for principal preparation and clinical practice. It is also working to integrate principles and practices of improvement science/ continuous improvement into the program’s curriculum.

School joins consortium that works to redesign Ed.D. programs

MSA faculty, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Illinois at Chicago, plan to develop with school and district partners deeper learning practices that can be incorporated into principal-preparation experiences. The project also seeks to develop more intentional partnership experiences that connect coursework to practice in partnership with schools and districts, creating opportunities to develop authentic leadership cases, inquiries, and to engage in leadership dilemmas.

The School has joined the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), a consortium of schools that is working to transform the way that educational leaders are prepared for their careers. Carolina was invited to join the consortium — which describes itself as network that stimulates each institution’s work and provides space for sharing, learning and providing feedback in a national dialogue across faculty, students and administrators in Doctor of Education programs — after a competitive application process. Eric Houck, program coordinator for the School’s Educational Leadership program, said: “Being a part of CPED will help support the Educational Leadership program as we transition into an equityoriented, improvement-focused structure for our incoming students that leverages our deep and authentic relationships with districts across the state.”

Aligning deeper learning with experiential education MAT program faculty, working with faculty at Trinity University in San Antonio and the University of Colorado Denver, will seek to develop deeper learning pedagogies in teacher education. Carolina faculty will focus on aligning experiential learning practices to support deeper learning; Trinity University faculty will focus on curricular elements that encourage deeper learning; and UCD faculty will focus on clinical experiences that foster deeper learning. The MAT team — which includes Kristin Papoi, Jocelyn Glazier and Cheryl Mason Bolick — will examine the program’s use of experiential education components, seeking to infuse them with opportunities for pre-service teachers to engage with deeper learning skills.


Students Our students come from North Carolina and beyond, from careers in education and from a number of other fields and industries. Each student brings a unique perspective that enriches our classrooms, research labs, and the broader Carolina community. They all come to Carolina with a passion to redefine what it means to educate. When our students graduate, they take with tools, knowledge, and experiences that will help them to propel the world through education.



Total Enrollment

Enrollment by Program Undergraduate
















White 67% Black or African American 13.2% Latinx 7.6% Asian 6.7% Two or more races 3.6% Unknown 1.5% American Indian/Alaska Native 0.2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0.2%












Female 86% Male 14%

* The UNC School of Education values and recognizes all forms of diversity. The following metrics only reflect diversity as captured by University data.


Sandrika Freeman: On an ‘inevitable’ path

Sandrika Freeman (’20 B.A.Ed.) came to Chapel Hill from about as far away as a North Carolinian can. She hails from Bertie County, situated in the state’s northeastern corner, a low-lying area among slow-moving creeks. It’s one of the state’s most rural counties. Resources for education and for highquality teachers are few. Sandrika knows this struggle better than most. Her mother was a teacher. Her father serves on the school board. She admits her path to education feels “inevitable.” That’s why she came to Carolina with the dream of changing public education to the benefit of all its students. One day, she hopes to return to Bertie County, hopefully serving as its superintendent. “I can make a difference there,” she said. “I owe it to the students of Bertie County to be that well-prepared educator.” As a Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) major, she is committed to gaining a wide view of education — one that includes child development, educational ethics, research methods, and education policy. “HDFS doesn’t target just future teachers,” she said. “You have so many different courses to help you become a better educator. I’m learning so much about ‘the whole child,’ in addition to learning about how to be a great teacher in my pre-MAT classes.” She’s interned with North Carolina Virtual Public School, seeing up-close how courses were developed and how leaders made decisions for the state’s online learners. This spring, she interned with Dr. Nakia Hardy, deputy superintendent for student affairs at Durham Public Schools.


“I can make a difference there. I owe it to the students of Bertie County to be that well-prepared educator.”

Collectively, Sandrika’s experiences in the program have provided the beginnings of a career roadmap. After graduating, she will remain at Carolina to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. Then she will teach for a few years. What comes after Sandrika will figure out as she goes along. A Master of School Administration? An Ed.D.? Maybe both. A chance to work and serve at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction? Hopefully. She just knows she wants to best prepare herself as a leader, through education and experience, to create the most impact for as many students as possible. Sandrika Freeman is a recipient of the Willie Hall Kennedy Scholarship and the Sam and Carole Roebuck Scholarship.

Producing the most effective teachers for high-need schools A recent report — prepared for the University of North Carolina System by the Education Policy Initiative at Carolina — found that the UNC School of Education prepared North Carolina’s most effective teachers, especially in secondary STEM subject areas and for economically disadvantaged and minority students. The report examined students’ North Carolina End-of-Grade exam scores from the 2012–13 through 2016–17 academic years to determine the effectiveness of teachers who graduated from UNC System universities. It calculated how many additional months of student learning were achieved in teachers’ classrooms beyond an expected number of months of learning. Diana Lys, assistant dean for educator preparation and accreditation, said the results reflected emphases that the School and its faculty place on preparing students for helping the neediest students. “We see it as part of our mission to address educational inequities through relationship building and student engagement,” Lys said. “These data indicate that we are having success preparing our teacher-candidates to do just that.”

Among overall student populations, the report found students in a Carolina teacher’s classroom gained: • Elementary math — 1.26 additional months • Middle school math — 1.73 additional months • Middle school science — 2.4 additional months • High school biology — 2.2 additional months Larger gains were seen among students from economically disadvantaged and minority populations, and from struggling schools.

Economically disadvantaged students gained: • Middle school science — 3.3 additional months • High school biology — 2.4 additional months Minority students gained: • Middle school math — 1.26 additional months • High school biology — 2.3 additional months Students within low-performing schools gained: • Middle school science — 4 additional months


Passionate and Forward-Thinking: Gracie Grant named School of Education’s Student Teacher of the Year

Gracie Grant (‘20 M.A.T.) recognized something important early in life: Education is the key to a better future. “Growing up, I came from a fairly low socio-economic status household, so I always saw education as a path to opportunities I would not have had access to otherwise,” she said. It’s not enough that she has found that path for herself. She’s now working to blaze those trails for others. Grant, who is a member of the 2020 class of the Master of Arts in Teaching program, has been named the School’s Student Teacher of the Year. Grant was selected from among nominations made by School of Education faculty, students and staff. She goes on to compete for the North Carolina Association for Colleges of Teacher Educators’ statewide Student Teacher of the Year award. Grant grew up in New Jersey before moving to North Carolina after middle school. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Carolina in 2019, majoring in English, graduating with honors, and in linguistics, with a minor in social and economic justice. She plans to teach high school English after completing the MAT program this summer. Kristin Papoi, director of the MAT program, said Grant has a passion for education and helping her students, combined with commitment to helping under-privileged students overcome the obstacles they face in school and in their communities.


“Some of the things I’ve learned in the MAT program that will serve me well in the future are to always be adaptable and to not be afraid to take risks in the classroom.” “Gracie brings to her teaching practice an openness and enthusiasm for building relationships with her students and colleagues, which speak volumes towards her value of teaching for social justice,” Papoi said. “Her undergraduate research to understand the inequities of schooling in the U.S. related to federal No Child Left Behind legislation deeply informed her success in her student teaching practice in the MAT.” During her student teaching internship, Grant worked deliberately to involve students in classroom discussions who otherwise often appeared disengaged. In her personal statement included in her nomination packet, Grant said: “As someone with a diverse background, I understand the importance of teenagers having tough critical conversations about topics such as race, gender, and social class as a means of building empathy and understanding. “Therefore, as an educator, I seek to find ways to engage in these types of conversations with students without alienating students and unintentionally putting pressure on groups of students to act as ‘representatives’ for their entire social grouping.” In her literature class, she led activities in which she invited students to explore and then to celebrate their diverse backgrounds. In one of the activities she asked students to use the image of an iceberg to list personal traits and characteristics that are readily apparent and others that are more hidden.

“While students were hesitant at first, by the end of the activity, many were pleasantly surprised to find out that they are much more diverse than they previously thought, and many were eager to share their identity icebergs with their classmates to discuss similarities and differences,” Grant said in her statement. “This experience was enriching for both myself and my students because I was able to deepen my commitment to accessing diversity in the classroom, and students were able to develop an understanding of the importance of engaging with diverse works.” Grant said she learned valuable lessons from the MAT courses, but also from the other students in the program. “The other members of the MAT cohort are some of the most passionate and forward-thinking educators I’ve met,” she said. “So, getting to be a member of this cohort has been amazing.” She said the MAT program taught her that teaching is intended to be an invigorating and creative experience. “Some of the things I’ve learned in the MAT program that will serve me well in the future are to always be adaptable and to not be afraid to take risks in the classroom,” she said. “Adaptability is one of the most important skills a teacher can have and through experiences like student teaching and experiential learning, I’ve been able to become a very adaptable teacher.”


‘How can I be a better advocate?’

Beth Swiatek (‘20 M.Ed.) never expected a career in education while sitting in a science lab as a student at UNC Charlotte, but after graduating in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, the North Carolina native soon discovered a passion for taking a holistic look at human well-being. “I had already learned everything from the neck down, so I decided now I need to learn everything from the neck up,” said Swiatek, a master’s student in school counseling at the UNC School of Education. She went on to graduate from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a Master of Science in Applied Educational Psychology and focused her research on the factors associated with degree of resiliency displayed in K-12 children. “My mom and my aunt both worked in the school system, so I grew up staying after school helping my teachers and even coming in on teacher workdays,” she said. “I grew to love the school environment and what it stood for. It became a second home for me. I always dreamt of making that home environment for other people who might need it as well.”

‘Being comfortable in the uncomfortable…’ That passion led Swiatek to the Master of Education in School Counseling program at Carolina, where coursework and internship experiences have fostered and enhanced her work to help students. During an internship at James E. Shepard Magnet Middle School in Durham, Swiatek worked alongside students and staff to provide resources for some of the school’s most pressing issues, including advocacy for LGBTQ+ spaces within the school.

community and organize around issues impacting them in their schools and communities. For her work at Shepard Middle, Swiatek was named the recipient of this year’s Galassi-Brown Social Justice and Advocacy Award. The award, named for John P. Galassi and Duane Brown who both retired as full professors from the UNC School of Education and who contributed over 80 years of combined service is presented annually to the school counseling student who goes beyond expectations to promote social and educational justice. This student demonstrates exceptional advocacy for the students they serve, the schools where they work, and the school counseling profession. In March, COVID-19 caused her school to move online, but Swiatek didn’t waver in her commitment to student success. “I created a Google classroom right away to target students and provide them with the support they needed from the counseling department,” she said. “I created a digital calming room, provided explanatory resources on how to best protect ourselves from the virus, and I also reached out personally to students I knew didn’t have access to the internet.” She attributes her quick thinking to a lesson she learned during her time within the School Counseling program. “I constantly hold onto the idea of being comfortable in the uncomfortable and embracing it, because that is where you learn the most about yourself and you’re able to push boundaries to do what is right.”

‘What more I can do’

“I started by doing research on the school climate, and even though there were few standards in place, the data showed me there was a high need for LGBTQ+ resources and safe places,” she said. “I did a series of professional development training to show staff how they can best support students who identify within the LGBTQ+ community.”

After she graduates this August, Swiatek is excited to begin her career as a school counselor, and to have the opportunities to continue her work for social justice. She is currently working to get more involved in policies surrounding education, specifically, working alongside North Carolina legislators to reform education, making it more equitable for all students.

Partnering with students, Swiatek also laid the groundwork to create a Gender and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) on campus. GSAs are student-run organizations that unite LGBTQ+ and allied youth to build

“As a lifelong learner, I will never stop moving forward,” she said. “I want to utilize what I’ve done as a foundation for what more I can do. After all, we have to constantly ask ourselves ‘How can I be a better advocate?’”


From Five Feet Away: Creating new possibilities in a community zoo

Lions and tigers and wolves and more! That’s what Jordan McNeill was expecting when she visited the Animal Park at the Conservators Center in Caswell County seven years ago while working as a special education teacher in Alamance County. What she left with was a way to help her community. Today, as a doctoral student at the School of Education studying special education, the community zoo, which operates as an educational nonprofit, has become central to McNeill’s identity as a young researcher. McNeill’s first semester in fall 2017 as a doctoral student in the Applied Developmental Science and Special Education program proved significant. Her seminar with professor Harriet Able — “Translational Research and Implementation Science” — meant that in addition to what she learned in the classroom, she would need to apply research in a way that improved a community organization and the lives of people associated with it. “Many of the students in the class were from out of state so they weren’t sure exactly what organizations were out there,” McNeill said. “I had a plan. I have an organization. Who wants to work with me?” She recruited two classmates in the occupational science doctoral program, Susan Szendrey and Amanda Carroll, and together they conducted a needs assessment and came up with ways to make the park more accessible.

“I want to be a researcher whose work really matters, whose work will make its way into schools and beyond schools,” McNeill said.

Later that year, a Community Engagement Fellowship from the Carolina Center for Public Service helped McNeill and Szendrey continue their work in the park. Now, two years since that first class, they’re still at the park, finding new ways to make the park more accessible and to enhance the educational experiences of its visitors. While McNeill’s dissertation won’t focus on her work at the Animal Park, it will benefit from her experience there, she said. McNeill plans to work with special education teachers to understand their perceptions of the evidence-based best practices and interventions provided by researchers and then to provide them with tools to best implement — and potentially adapt — those practices. “I want to be a researcher whose work really matters, whose work will make its way into schools and beyond schools,” McNeill said.


Responding to state needs, Pathway to Practice offers convenient, effective licensure

When Amy Castle was a junior at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, she participated in an outreach project for an ecology class that included teaching a lesson on endangered reptiles and amphibians to middle school students. She loved the experience. She got a job with Asheville City Schools and tutored seventh graders once a week her senior year. She loved that experience, too. “It was at that time when I realized that being a school teacher would be a great career for me,” she says. But it was a little late in Castle’s college career to change majors. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and, upon graduation, accepted a lateral entry — or residency — teaching job as a seventh grade science teacher at the Durham School of the Arts. Residency-licensed teachers have the content knowledge and are hired to fill a teaching position, but have not obtained a teaching licensure. In order to continue teaching, they must earn a teaching license within their first three years in the classroom. To earn that teaching licensure, Castle turned to Pathway to Practice NC — a 100% online, state-approved Educator Preparation Program offered by NC State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill specifically designed to help residencylicensed teachers like Castle earn a full teaching license. “Pathway to Practice is affordable, online and self-paced — all essential attributes of the program that are important for a full-time new teacher,” said Castle, who completed the program in 2019. Not only can teachers complete the 12- to 18-month program online, they also engage with faculty members from North Carolina’s two co-flagship universities, which prepare some of the state’s most effective educators based on performance measures. “The content is specifically designed for in-service teachers by


subject area experts,” said Alison Winzeler, Ph.D., program coordinator of Pathway to Practice. “These experts are faculty members from two of the strongest colleges of education in the nation.” The program helps address the state’s growing teacher shortage by providing a new avenue for residency-licensed or lateral entry teachers to gain licensure. Districts rely heavily on residencylicensed teachers to fill vacancies. According to a 2015 State Board of Education report, North Carolina employs more than 4,300 residency-licensed teachers. However, residency-licensed teachers leave the profession at a rate 79% greater than other teachers. To provide more effective teacher preparation for residency-licensed teachers, the UNC School of Education and the NC State College of Education established Pathway to Practice to provide the teaching skills and knowledge residency-licensed teachers need to be effective in the classroom. The program launched in 2017 with 15 residency-licensed teachers. In less than a year, Pathway to Practice had more than doubled its enrollment. Since it began, the program has seen 12 teachers complete the program and earn full teacher licensure, with another 86 residency-licensed teachers currently enrolled. “Pathway to Practice supports and prepares emergency-licensed teachers by providing a flexible, research-driven and standardsbased licensure program,” Winzeler says. “It is no small feat to also pursue a licensure program while teaching. The flexibility of Pathway to Practice, as well as the individualized feedback, allows them to develop as educators and be successful by achieving full licensure.” In November 2019, the program expanded to offer teacher preparation programs in elementary education and special education thanks to a $200,000 grant from the State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation. The foundation grant also funds scholarships for 10 teachers who want to become fully licensed in elementary education and special education.

Student News Doctoral students win Harvard fellowships

Sadler named Clark Scholar

James “Jay” Carter and James Sadler, doctoral students in the Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement strand of the School of Education’s Ph.D. program, won fellowships with the Strategic Data Project at Harvard University’s Center for Educational Policy Research.

Doctoral student James Sadler was named a 2020 David L. Clark Scholar by the University Council for Educational Administration.

As part of the fellowship program, Carter and Sadler are matched with an educational institution or school district where they will work for two years, pursuing data-driven research projects centered on education policy or to help their institution build its capacity to make evidence-based decisions. Partner agencies employ SDP Data Fellows with a salary and full benefits as part of the fellowship program. Fellows also participate in seminars, an annual meeting, and other professional development opportunities organized by the Center. Carter’s research focuses primarily on student assignment and school segregation. Sadler’s dissertation research analyzes the effects of implementing restorative justice practices in a no-excuses charter school network. His other research interests include school discipline policies, with a focus on implementing restorative practices; gender pay gaps in teacher labor markets; and, reforms that improve education quality and opportunity for historically underrepresented students.

As a Clark Scholar, Sadler, a fourth-year student in the Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement strand of the Ph.D. program, was to participate in the David L. Clark National Graduate Student Research Seminar in Educational Administration & Policy. The event, which was scheduled at the beginning of the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in San Francisco in April, brings emerging educational administration and policy scholars and researchers together for presentations, discussion, and professional growth.

Danbi Choe wins prestigious UNC fellowship Danbi Choe, a doctoral student in school psychology, won the Lyle V. Jones Dissertation Fellowship from the Graduate School at UNC-Chapel Hill. One of the University’s prestigious Royster Fellowships, the Lyle V. Jones Dissertation Fellowship provides tuition and a living stipend for one year to an advanced student completing research leading to the Ph.D. Choe’s dissertation research seeks to develop and evaluate an intervention designed to support social emotional learning among Korean immigrant adolescents, a group that has not received a lot of study despite their increasing needs, Choe said.


Development and Alumni Relations The UNC School of Education proudly boasts more than 22,000 alumni across fields and professions. They are often distinguished, and many go on to earn teacher of the year, counselor of the year, and principal of the year distinctions in their schools, districts, regions, and states. And each possesses an unwavering commitment to students and educators and the foundational role that education plays in our world.

22k Alumni




100 Counties AT ORGANIZATIONS THAT INCLUDE Wake County Public School System

NC Idea

Durham Public Schools

Guilford County Schools

Orange County Schools

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

UNC Office of Undergraduate Admissions

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

Northwestern University

North Carolina Virtual Public School

North Carolina Central University

Development The UNC School of Education is grateful to the many donors — individuals and organizations — who share our belief in the transformative power of education. Each year, we continue to garner more support for innovative programs and groundbreaking research that hold the potential to change our fields in profound ways. These investments in the School provide us the opportunity to pursue promising projects and to respond to pressing needs.

Fundraising Totals



UNC School of Education Board of Visitors Our Board of Visitors convenes some of the best minds in North Carolina’s education landscape. Collectively, members have decades of educational and philanthropic experience in the state, and they graciously share that expertise with the School. Members include: Richard “Dicky” Baddour (’75 M.A.) Athletic Director (Retired) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Harold Lillard Kennedy III Partner/Attorney Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy & Kennedy

Frank R. Comfort (’69 M.A.T.) Head Swimming Coach (Retired) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Moise Khayrallah (’93 Ph.D.) CEO and Co-Founder Aerial BioPharma

Alison Cleveland (’14 M.S.A.) Principal Wakefield Middle School

Thomas Willis Lambeth Senior Fellow Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

Fred Pfohl Crouch II (’71 M.A.T.) Social Studies Specialist (Retired) Prince George County Schools

Dr. Michael D. Priddy (’70 A.B., ’75 M.Ed., ’81 Ed.D.) Board Chairman Public School Forum

Robert Wendell Eaves Jr. Owner, Chairman and CEO (Retired) The Right Stuff Food Stores Ronald Thayer Haskins (’70 M.A.T.) Senior Fellow, Economic Studies Brookings Institute Gerry House (’88 Ed.D.) President and CEO Institute for Student Achievement

Moyer Gray Smith Sr. (’61 A.B.Ed.) President (Retired) The Rams Club University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ann Gobbel Sullivan (’57 A.B.Ed.) Community Volunteer Willis “Bill” Whichard Lawyer Moore & Van Allen PLLC Former N.C. Senator, Supreme Court Justice, Dean of Campbell School of Law Kristen Smith Young (’01 A.B.Ed.) Director of Community Relations University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Ex-Officio Members Amy Rickard (’84 A.B.Ed., ’00 M.S.A.) Principal Morris Grove Elementary President UNC School of Education Alumni Council

Zollie Stevenson Jr. (’84 Ph.D.) Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs (Retired) Philander Smith College

A Reimagined Entryway for a Forward-Looking School of Education

The School completed the first phase of a renovation to the Peabody Hall entryway. Made possible by the generosity of alumnae Margaret Tarver Jason ’66 and Missy Jason Pearson ’93, the new Tarver Entryway features a window that exposes an atrium between the original building and a more recent addition. The result: A new, brighter space that invites all to gather and share ideas that will advance education in lasting ways.


Alumni Relations We are proud to know that the knowledge and experiences gained in Peabody Hall create positive impact inside schools and in many other fields. The School has one of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s largest alumni bases, boasting 22,000 alumni living in all 100 North Carolina counties, all 50 states, and more than 40 countries.

Alumni Council The members of the Alumni Council represent a range of alumni in terms of their professional experience. They provide insights from that experience to inform our work to improve teaching and learning. The council is the governing body for the School of Education’s alumni. It includes the following members: Officers President Amy Rickard (’94 A.B.Ed., ’00 M.S.A.) Past President Dr. Michael D. Priddy (’70 A.B., ’75 M.Ed., ’81 Ed.D.) Secretary Carole Symons Roebuck (’63 A.B.Ed.) Members Eliza M. Brinkley (’18 M.A.T.) Dr. Barbara Holland Chapman (’81 Ph.D.) Dr. Kristal Moore Clemons (’09 Ph.D.) Dr. Eliz Colbert (’86 B.A., ’95 M.Ed.) Belinda Corpening (’72 A.B.Ed., ’73 M.Ed.) Dr. Ed Dunlap (’79 Ph.D.) Dr. Nancy Farmer (’69 A.B.Ed., ’70 M.Ed., ’81 Ed.D.) Sandrika Freeman (‘20 B.A.Ed.) Dan Gilfort (’03 M.S.A.) Dr. Linda C. Hutchinson-Harmon (’74 M.Ed., ’83 Ph.D.) Catherine B. Jenrette (’71 A.B.Ed.) Dr. Lynne Cannon Johnson (’85 A.B.Ed., ’95 M.Ed.) Dr. Oliver Johnson (’84 Ph.D.) Arthur Kamiya Jr. (’78 M.A.T.) Shea Grisham Linden (’08 A.B.Ed., ’14 M.Ed.) Dr. Larry Mabe (’93 Ed.D.) Dr. David A. “Gus” Martin (’73 M.Ed., ’82 Ph.D.) Dr. Ben Matthews (’71 A.B., ’84 Ph.D.) Dr. Laura Colson McLean (’99 A.B.Ed.) Dr. Mary Faith Mount-Cors (’10 Ph.D.) Dr. Mia Murphy (’12 Ed.D.) Dr. James Overman (’99 M.S.A.)

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Dr. Melissa Rasberry (’98 A.B.Ed., ’03 M.S.A., ’07 Ed.D.) Cindi Rigsbee (’79 A.B.Ed., ’03 M.Ed.) Mitzi Safrit (’89 A.B.Ed.) Kelli Hayner Smith (’00 M.Ed.) Dr. William P. Steed (’87 Ed.D.) Sarah S. Stephens (’09 A.B.Ed., ’19 M.S.A.) School of Education Faculty Representatives Martinette Horner (’96 A.B.Ed., ’16 Ed.D.) Eric Houck (’92 A.B.Ed.) School of Education Staff Representatives Fouad Abd-El-Khalick Leslie Deslis Morgan Ellis (’07 A.B.J.M.) Megan Garrett (’08 A.B.J.M., ’16 M.P.A.) Mike Hobbs (’15 Cert. Technology and Communication) Laurie Norman (’83 B.S.) Kayla Blevins Stewart (’16 B.A.J.M.)

Alumni Honored for Excellence The School of Education recognized the following four alumni during an annual ceremony on October 5, 2019. Awardees include:

Alumni Achievement Award

Distinguished Leadership Award

Patrick Miller (’93 B.M.Ed.) Superintendent Greene County Schools

Rodney Trice (’06 Ed.D.) Assistant Superintendent for Equity Affairs Wake County Public School System

Excellence in Education Award

Outstanding Young Alumna Award

Barbie Garayúa-Tudryn (’13 M.Ed.) School Counselor Frank Porter Graham Bilingue

Sallie Senseney (’10 UNC-BEST) Science Teacher Mountain Heritage High School


Profile for UNC School of Education

UNC School of Education Annual Report 2019-20  

The 2019-20 annual report for the UNC School of Education features highlights in research, faculty and student achievement, and more from th...

UNC School of Education Annual Report 2019-20  

The 2019-20 annual report for the UNC School of Education features highlights in research, faculty and student achievement, and more from th...


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