2019 News Stories

Faculty Notes: Fall 2019

Learn about the accomplishments and recognitions of faculty in the College of Education during the Fall 2019 semester.

Ilene Berson, PhD, and Michael J. Berson, PhD, delivered a keynote address in September at the Library of Congress Teaching With Primary Sources Program Consortium Meeting in Washington, DC. Their presentation, titled “Research-informed perspectives on civic education for young children in a multicultural society,” provided evidence-based guidance for nationwide initiatives that engage preschool and primary age children in applying their critical literacy skills through a developmentally appropriate process of careful looking, historical thinking, and scaffolded analysis of primary sources.

Ilene Berson

Ilene Berson, PhD, and Michael J. Berson, PhD, delivered the keynote address in October for a Teaching with Primary Sources event hosted by the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras. The presentation on “Cómo utilizar los recursos en línea de la Biblioteca del Congreso de los Estados Unidos en el proceso de enseñanza y aprendizaje” modeled interactive, research-informed teaching practices to encourage inquiry with historical images, developed students’ critical thinking skills, and promoted knowledge construction across content areas. The event was attended by education policymakers, professors, librarians, elementary and secondary teachers and preservice educators.

Ann Cranston-Gingras

Ann Cranston-Gingras, PhD, received this year’s USF Status of Latinos (SOL) Faculty Award to recognize her dedication and accomplishments. The award was presented at the USF Hispanic Heritage Celebration Awards Breakfast. Dr. Cranston-Gingras is the director of the Center for Migrant Education, which focuses on improving educational access and outcomes for students from migrant and seasonal farmworker backgrounds.

Barbara Cruz

Bárbara Cruz, PhD, delivered the keynote address in September at the annual awards assembly of the Hillsborough Literacy Council, a non-profit organization that provides free tutoring throughout the Hillsborough County Public Library System.

Dr. Cruz’s presentation was given 53 years from the day that she immigrated to the United States from Cuba. While at the event, she helped honor the local mentors who provide free literacy tutoring for adults who are learning to read, speak, and write in English or adults who need support in improving their basic literacy skills. Dr. Cruz also shared her experiences of learning English in school, the ways in which teachers mentored her along the way and she inspired the crowd with a series of sayings and helpful advice from her mother: “mami dice.”      

Mandie B. Dunn, PhD, was selected as a recipient of the Research Initiative grant for her winning project, “Teaching Literary Texts While Grieving a Death.” This grant was one of only two awarded nationally for the 2019-20 academic year by English Language Arts Teacher Educators (ELATE), an affiliate organization within the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Dr. Dunn’s project will be recognized at the ELATE luncheon and ELATE business meeting during the upcoming national convention in Baltimore, Md. in November 2019. She is also invited to present her research at the 2020 NCTE national convention in Denver, CO as part of a special session for research award projects.

Allan Feldman

Allan Feldman, PhD, traveled to Ghana, West Africa this summer along with USF researchers and selected students from the College of Education, College of Engineering, and Patel College of Global Sustainability as part of a National Science Foundation funded research project titled “The USF-Ghana Water and Sanitation Collaboration.” Through the project, the research team—including College of Education doctoral student, Tara Nkrumah—worked with students and faculty at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and with teachers and pupils at a local secondary school to conduct research on technological, economic and social aspects of water supply and sanitation systems.

Elizabeth Hadley, PhD, was appointed as a Scholar in Residence at the David C. Anchin Center for the Advancement of Teaching for the 2019-20 academic year. The Scholar in Residence Program is an opportunity for USF faculty to spend one academic year on research focused on a critical issue in education. Scholars in Residence spend their one-year appointment conducting research, submitting articles to research journals, writing grant proposals and giving presentations about their work to the education community.

Dr. Hadley’s research focuses on supporting oral language development in preschool classrooms, particularly through building rich vocabulary knowledge. She is interested in understanding the relationship between preschool oral language skills and later reading comprehension, as well as working with preschool teachers to foster academic vocabulary growth in children from under-served communities.

Phyllis Jones, PhD, Zorka Karanxha, Ed.D., and Sarah Semon, PhD, were awarded a grant to support education professionals pursuing doctoral studies in leadership roles within the field of special education. The $1,235,013 grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs and will take place over a five-year period. The “Leadership in Literacy Interventions” grant will support five doctoral scholars from Hillsborough and Pasco School districts who aspire to assume leadership roles focused on implementation of intensive literacy interventions within the context of systems-change efforts.

During the program, students will work towards a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Special Education, as well as a cognate in Educational Leadership that includes the requirements for Level 1 Educational Leadership Certification by the Florida Department of Education. Students enrolled in the program will receive a yearly stipend of $35,000 and mentorship from USF faculty while conducting literacy intervention research. Upon graduation, scholars will assume roles as state special education administrators, local special education directors, school-based special education directors or early intervention coordinators.

Sanghoon Park, PhD, received the Immersive Learning Award (Linear Category) from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Emerging Learning Technology Division. The award is presented to individuals who have utilized mediated instruction such as multimedia presentations, games, pervasive games, simulations, computer/web-based applications and mobile applications in the classroom in a way that demonstrates an increase in learning.

Dr. Park received the award for a teacher simulation research project developed with Dr. Jeeheon Ryu from Chonnam National University in South Korea, titled “Exploring Preservice Teachers’ Emotional Experiences in an Immersive Virtual Teaching Simulation through Facial Expression Recognition.”

Steve Permuth

Steve Permuth, PhD, was awarded a 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award by the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. The Distinguished Alumni Award was created in 2010 to honor alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers and communities. Out of the college’s 70,000 alumni, 25 alumni are selected each year to be recognized with this award. Dr. Permuth will be recognized at an induction dinner hosted at the University of Minnesota in November.

Janet C. Richards, PhD, wrote a book with co-author Wolff-Michael Roth titled "Empowering Students as Self-Directed Learners of Qualitative Research Methods: Transformational Practices for Instructors and Students." The book, which includes six chapters authored by USF doctoral students, meets the needs of qualitative research instructors who seek information to help students actively engage in qualitative inquiry. The book will be released in November and is published by Brill.

Laura Sabella

Laura Sabella, PhD, and a group of alumni from the College of Education visited Nanchang, China this summer to utilize interdisciplinary curriculum to teach English to K-8 students in summer camps. Approximately sixty teachers from around the Tampa Bay Area went on the trip and taught in several schools; USF alumni taught in the Nanchang Phoenix School. In follow-up to the group’s visit, educators from China visited the College of Education in August to learn about the program offerings and resources available to international students studying education at USF. 

Ruthmae Sears, PhD, hosted a professional development training in September for instructional pairs in secondary mathematics. The presenters sought to explicate means to attend to equity in secondary mathematics, using co-planning and co-teaching. The training was hosted through an NSF-funded project that Dr. Sears serves as principal investigator for, “Collaborative Research: Attaining Excellence in Secondary Mathematics Clinical Experiences with a Lens on Equity.”

Mathematics Education workshop

Ruthmae Sears

Ruthmae Sears, PhD, alongside families and friends of the Bahamas at USF, donated four bins of toiletries, school supplies, and other items to The Bahamas Hurricane Dorian relief efforts, thanks to the generous donations from individuals in The College of Education, Kappa Delta Pi-Honor Society, USF Athletics, and a club in the College of Nursing. Additionally, financial donations of $377.00 were donated to The Dignified Girls Project, a nonprofit organization in the Bahamas that provides free personal care packages to girls aged 6-17 years.

Nathaniel von der Embse Faculty Research Award

Nathaniel von der Embse, PhD, received a Faculty Outstanding Research Achievement Award from USF Research and Innovation. The award recognizes USF faculty members whose research has garnered national and international acclaim. Each faculty member receives $2,000 with the award in recognition of their achievements for the 2018 calendar year.

Dr. von der Embse’s research examines effective school mental health practices and policies, including teacher well-being, universal screening for mental health risk, and population-based prevention models. He has supported his research through securing highly competitive awards from federal agencies. In 2018, he received several federal grants totaling more than $3.5 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Agency (SAMHSA) and the National Institute for Justice (NIJ).

The Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program faculty will welcome a sixth cohort of students to the Ed.S. program in Educational Leadership in January 2020. The program, which emphasizes leadership in turnaround schools, has been offered in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools since 2014 and with Polk County Public Schools since 2017. Students are jointly selected for the program by program faculty and district leaders. 

To support exceptional student education teacher candidates’ need to work and increase their program retention, Exceptional Student Education program faculty have partnered with Hillsborough County Public Schools to provide paid internships to undergraduate students who are enrolled in the teacher preparation program. Interested USF students in good standing are provided the option to secure a paraprofessional position in the school district during their final year in the program. The first cohort of teacher candidates serving as paraprofessionals began this fall. Based on the initial success with retention and the positive response from mentors, the program plans to continue expanding this initiative into other school districts.

To submit information for a future issue of College of Education Faculty Notes, please contact Elizabeth Engasser at eengasser@usf.edu.