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Friends and Fellow Tar Heels, I hope this issue of Carolina Education finds you and your loved ones well. The past few months have been unlike anything we have ever experienced. We did not expect to change the way we teach, learn, work, and live. But we did. All of us, we adapted for our families and communities, for our students and our colleagues. At the School of Education, our work is guided by four pillars: educating the whole; empowering leaders of tomorrow; collaborating for the greater good; and advancing knowledge, driving innovation. We lived by and embodied these pillars during the pandemic. We sought the well-being of students — on our campus and in North Carolina. We empowered students and faculty members to think creatively and act compassionately. We worked together to meet demands of changing times. We leveraged our expertise to help people in North Carolina and beyond. As concerns around the pandemic grew, several of our faculty members anticipated needs of educators, families, and students, and created resources for those who were homebound. Some raised questions about our most vulnerable students in schools and created a forum to examine those issues with school professionals. And they did so in addition to their teaching and research duties. You will read about some of those faculty members within these pages. Because of the generosity of donors to the School, we were also able to help students experiencing hardships due to the pandemic and to create some of the resources you will read about. As we all say, it takes a community. That saying absolutely holds true. And some good news for this community: U.S. News & World Report recently ranked our School as the No. 24 school of education in the nation. We are the No. 14 public school of education. We are the No. 1 school of education in North Carolina. I have never been more proud of this School. I hope you are, too. While uncertain times might still lay ahead, I am certain that this School and educators will continue to Propel the World.

Fouad Abd-El-Khalick Dean and Professor


$16 million project aims 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 and 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.

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

Two EdPrepLab-backed projects to develop enhanced pedagogies

The School has joined the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate, a consortium of schools working together to transform how we prepare educational leaders. This network aims to stimulate each institution’s work and provides space for sharing, learning, and providing feedback in a national dialogue across faculty, students, and administrators.

School faculty members will collaborate with researchers at three other campuses to develop deeper learning pedagogies in educator-preparation programs in two projects.

“Being a part of CPED will help support the Educational Leadership program as we transition into an equity-oriented, improvementfocused structure for our incoming students that leverages our deep and authentic relationships with districts across the state,” said Eric Houck, program coordinator for the School’s Ed.D. program.

The projects will build upon and extend efforts at the School to incorporate experiential learning practices in the Master of Arts in Teaching program and to incorporate new practices in a redesign of the Master of School Administration program. EdPrepLab, an initiative 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, funded both projects.

At No. 24, Carolina extends rise in national rankings of schools of education NO. The UNC School of Education jumped to No. 24 — of the approximately 1,600 education programs in the U.S. — in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings. “ This is an incredible accomplishment, and the credit goes to many people, but especially our faculty, staff, students, and alumni,” said Dean Fouad Abd-El-Khalick. “ We could not be more proud that their work is recognized in this way. “ The rankings reflect our mindset of continuous improvement. Guided by our strategic planning, we made targeted faculty hires and launched innovative programs to serve the educational needs of North Carolina and beyond. This ranking is wonderful, but there is more work to be done, and we are committed to doing it.” During the past three years, the School has hired 22 new faculty members, ranging from promising young scholars to preeminent researchers, bolstering an already extraordinary faculty. Last year, the School reported its highest-ever externally funded research expenditures — $13.8 million — an increase of 240% since 2016. Our faculty members pursue high-impact research with implications across nearly every facet of education. The rankings also reflect the School’s esteem among educational professionals who hire our graduates. On a five-point scale, those professionals rated Carolina at 4.2, 13th highest among all schools ranked. Our faculty members also prepare the state’s most effective teachers and administrators.









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Students, Families, and Communities Even in the face of the worst pandemic of our lifetimes, the School of Education community continued and adapted the work it does day in and day out on behalf of students, families, and communities. Our faculty and staff members, graduate students, and alumni cared for their students and families in extraordinary ways. Staff members undertook the task of pivoting our courses to remote instruction. Faculty members shared expertise and created resources for homebound students and their families. The ways this community responded are many, and the following offer a small glimpse of how our faculty members navigated the diff icult times. For a full list of resources shared, visit ed.unc.edu/covid19-resources.

KARA HUME 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 was downloaded more than 80,000 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. To support work like this, please consider making a gift at ed.unc. edu/give.

TROY SADLER 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 debate 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 and private funding, 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.

DANA GRI FFI N Associate professor Dana Griffin shared timely expertise about empathy and wellbeing 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.

ALISON L AGARRY-CAHOON 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 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.”


On an ‘inevitable’ path Sandrika Freeman ’20 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 high-quality 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.

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,” she said. “I owe it to the students of Bertie County to be that wellprepared 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.

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 the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Virtual Public School, now known as NC Virtual, seeing up-close how courses were developed and how leaders

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.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Campus Box 3500, Peabody Hall Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3500



Do you want to make a difference in the lives of learners and educators? Do you want to lead a learning community? Are you an aspiring edupreneur? Find out how you can propel the world by learning more about our academic programs at ed.unc.edu/academics.

Profile for UNC School of Education

Carolina Education — Spring 2020  

Carolina Education is a printed gatefold mailer sent to UNC School of Education alumni and donors each fall and spring. Spring 2020 issue.

Carolina Education — Spring 2020  

Carolina Education is a printed gatefold mailer sent to UNC School of Education alumni and donors each fall and spring. Spring 2020 issue.


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