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College of Education and Human Development at The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

News Briefs

COEHD boasts highest graduating doctoral class in its history

Nearly 200 graduate students from the College of Education and Human Development graduated from the university on Saturday, May 9, 2015. Twenty of these graduate students received their doctoral degree, marking the college’s largest graduating doctoral class.

Seven students received their Ph.D. degree in Counselor Education and Supervision; seven students received their Ed.D. degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; and three students received their Ph.D. degree in Culture, Literacy and Language. An additional three students received their Ph.D. degree in Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching.

“We are producing quality graduates that are making direct impacts on the San Antonio community and beyond,” said COEHD Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Page Smith. “Under Dean Betty Merchant’s leadership, we have experienced both exponential growth and maturation of our graduate programs. Without question, our COEHD doctoral productivity is a testimony to a committed and focused faculty.”

Currently, the college offers four doctoral programs in the departments of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies, Counseling, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching.

“We take a vested interest in the success of every single student that pursues doctoral studies,” said Smith.

Dr. Yvonne Katz

WSI honors 11th Women’s Advocate of Year

The University of Texas at San Antonio Women’s Studies Institute named Dr. Yvonne Katz as the 2015 Women’s Advocate of the Year at the Women’s History Month Opening Reception on Thursday, March 5, 2015. The annual event was part of the institute’s Women’s History Month. Katz is the 11th person the Women’s Studies Institute has named as Women’s Advocate of the Year.

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COEHD acquires editorship of AMAE Journal

The UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) has acquired the editorship of the “Association of Mexican American Educators (AMAE) Journal” from Arizona State University. The journal will be housed in the Department of Bicultural- Bilingual Studies (BBL) under the direction of lead editor Dr. Patricia Sánchez, associate professor.

Photo courtsey of Dr. Patricia Sánchez

The AMAE Journal, which was previously housed in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, is a leading research journal in the field of Mexican American and Latino education. Dr. Oscar Jimenez-Castellanos, associate professor at Arizona State University, served as the previous lead editor. The journal was founded by AMAE, Inc., whose mission is to ensure equal access to a quality education (PK-16) for Mexican American/Latino students where cultural and linguistic diversity is recognized and respected. This year, AMAE, Inc. celebrates its 50th anniversary.

“By acquiring the journal, we are sending a message to the academic community nationwide that UTSA, COEHD, and BBL value scholarship on Latina/o educational issues,” said Sánchez. “The journal provides a much needed outlet for important, up-and-coming work on the nation’s fastest-growing student population. There are only two other journals in the broader field of educational studies that focus on Latina/o students and families.”

Currently, Dr. Lucila Ek, BBL associate professor, and Dr. Julie L. Figueroa, associate professor at California State University, Sacramento serve as the new associate editors. BBL doctoral student Janeth Martinez serves as the current managing editor, replacing Carolina Ramos, a recent doctoral graduate, and Dr. Enrique Alemán, professor and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, serves as a member of the journal’s Editorial Board.

“We are also providing our doctoral students with excellent training in research publication and the peer-review process as they gain access to efforts that often take place behind-thescenes,” said Sánchez.

The transition of the journal began in the fall of 2014. Since that time, the journal, which is published triannually, has produced three issues.

“It feels great to have taken three issues to press,” said Sánchez. “We have jumped over the publication hurdle several times and now have a much smoother system for this process. Each issue is like giving birth to a book: there are some pains but great rewards.

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Counseling graduate students participate in biofeedback seminar

Photo courtsey of Dr. Mark Jones

Three graduate students from the Department of Counseling’s Neurofeedback Training Program participated in a three-day biofeedback seminar at Ft. Sam Houston.

Stephanie Dreis, Michael Fitzsimmons, and Greg Perez assisted Dr. Tony Hughes, director of the Stens Corporation Biofeedback Certification Program in teaching more than 30 clinicians from various branches of the military about neurofeedback, a form of counseling used by clinicians to control brainwaves associated with certain conditions.

Other biofeedback-related topics covered in their seminar included electromyography (muscle tension), skin temperature, skin conductance, and heart rate variability.

“These forms of biofeedback are evidence-based treatments for stress-related disorders, anxiety, and PTSD,” said Dr. Mark Jones, adjunct professor in the Department of Counseling and coordinator of the UTSA Neurofeedback Program.

The students assisted the seminar participants in using the software and equipment, and showed them different techniques for performing the procedures.

“As part of the courses that I teach in the counseling department, these students have gained proficiency in the systems that were utilized in the training,” said Jones. “The students had an extremely positive experience and returned with greater enthusiasm for learning more about applied psychophysiology.”

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Educational psychology students present research

Graduate students in the Department of Educational Psychology’s School Psychology program presented their research at the fourth annual UTSA School Psychology Symposium and Reception on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at the Downtown Campus.

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NCAS helps area schools boost academic performance

Hart Elementary School, in the Hart Independent School District, and Meadowland Charter School, in Boerne, Texas, met and surpassed the Texas Education Agency’s target accountability scores for 2015 as a result of their work with the National Center for Accelerated Schools (NCAS), a center housed in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development. Both schools began working with the NCAS last year.

“We are very proud at how far these schools have come over the last year,” said Joan Vasbinder, director of the National Center for Accelerated Schools. “Through their commitment and work, these schools have made substantial gains.The scores they received are reflective of the their hard work and dedication”

Each year, TEA assesses the academic accountability of K-12 schools within the state of Texas using four indexes: student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, and postsecondary readiness. These four indexes help determine if the school has met the academic standards set forth by the state.learning community.”

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Enrique Alemán, Jr. named chair of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department

Dr. Enrique Alemán, Jr. has returned home to Texas as the new chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development. Alemán assumed his duties at the start of the 2015-2016 school year

Prior to joining UTSA, Alemán, a native of Kingsville, Texas, served as associate professor at the University of Utah and the co-founder and director of the Westside Pathways Project and the Adelante Partnership. His research areas include the impact of K-12 and higher education policies on underrepresented students, community-university-school collaboratives, and the use of the Critical Race and Latino Critical theoretical frameworks within educational research.

“One of the things that attracted me to UTSA and the college was that there are so many faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies that are wanting to influence opportunities for social justice in schools and in higher education,” said Alemán.

Alemán received his Ph.D. in Educational Administration from The University of Texas at Austin, where he also received a Mexican American Studies doctoral certification. He is a former Ford Foundation and National Academy of Sciences Fellow, and the recipient of the 2005 Dissertation of the Year Award by the American Education Research Association (AERA) Research on the Superintendency Special Interest Group.

Last year, he produced and co-wrote the documentary “Stolen Education” about the Hernandez et al. vs. Driscoll Consolidated School District court case on desegregation. The film has been viewed in cities across the United States, including two showings at UTSA, one at the Downtown Campus and one at the Institute of Texan Cultures

“I am looking forward to learning from UTSA,” said Alemán. “I see more opportunity than anything else and I just want to be a key player in that. I want to help faculty grow and do great work, and I want to help the college continue to grow. I would love for students around the country to want to come study here because of our great faculty, our programs, and the many opportunities to be funded and do research in a great city.”

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UTSA associate professor Carmen Tafolla named Texas State Poet Laureate 2015-16

Internationally acclaimed writer Carmen Tafolla was named the 2015 Texas State Poet Laureate by the 84th Texas Legislature. Tafolla, an associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies, was officially invested as poet laureate at a special resolution ceremony for the induction of all Texas State Artists at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on May 7, 2015.

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Office of Teacher Education Services moves to new office

The Office of Teacher Education Services, which houses Student Teaching, TExES, and Field Placements, moved to their new offices in the Main Building, room 3.310, this past fall. Pictured below (l-r) are Janet Scott, Cherie Weiss, Veronica Kiley, and Jodi Maker.

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Maricela Oliva appointed associate vice provost for academic and faculty support

UTSA associate professor Maricela Oliva has been named associate vice provost for academic and faculty support. In her new role, Oliva will serve as a liaison to the Faculty Center and help facilitate the implementation and review of all faculty support programs, including faculty mentoring and faculty recognition programs. She will also support initiatives related to the Downtown Campus.

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Salinas family establishes the Angie Martinez Memorial Scholarship

Rebecca Salinas, ’00 BA, ’11 MA, always knew that teaching was something she was meant to do.

“Growing up playing in my bedroom, I was constantly imitating my teachers,” said Salinas, who taught both in public and private schools for nine years. “There was never any other profession that I wanted to pursue. I have a real passion for helping others.”

And this passion for helping others and giving back to the community has always played an important role in her life. It was a lesson, she said, she learned from her mother at a young age.

“With my mom, it was always about giving back,” said Salinas. “She always let us know that if you have a little more, you do a little more.”

In 2008, Salinas’ mother, Angie Martinez, was diagnosed with cancer. This was the same year that Salinas returned to school to earn her master’s in education.

Two years later, her mother passed away; but throughout those two years, Martinez continued to help the community and encouraged her family to do the same.

“When my mom was first diagnosed with cancer, she made it a point to make sure that we continue helping people and give back to our community,” said Salinas.

This past spring, Salinas continued her mother’s efforts and established the Angie Martinez Memorial Scholarship in memory of her mother.

“This scholarship is really about giving back,” said Salinas. “That is what she would have wanted.”

The scholarship provides $2,000 to an undergraduate student pursing a degree in interdisciplinary studies and a certification in either early childhood through sixth grade or fourth through eighth grade. Twenty-one students applied to the scholarship this spring; five students were selected as scholarship recipients.

“With the scholarship, I hope to give the recipients the same opportunities that I had,” said Salinas. “I worked full time while I was in school, so I am hoping the scholarship will take off some of that monetary pressure and help out with any financial need.”

Salinas and her husband, Martin, ’94, also have a scholarship in the College of Business in honor of her husband’s grandparents, the Jesus Rodriguez and Lorenzo Salinas Endowed Fellowship.

“Education is just something that we really strongly believe in and we are big UTSA people,” said Salinas. “I am hoping to see our new scholarship grow a little bit more each year.”

But Salinas has not just given back to UTSA, but to the San Antonio community as well. In 2010, Salinas and her family started a thanksgiving luncheon in their church’s community center. The family, joined by volunteers from their church, served a free meal to nearly 200 people the first year

This past year, they served more than 700 meals.

“This all just goes back to the idea of giving back,” Salinas said. “It’s an exciting feeling and makes me want to do a little bit more knowing that even just a little bit can help make a difference in someone’s life.”

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UTSA hosts Global Latino Education Advocacy Days Summit

The University of Texas at San Antonio hosted the inaugural Global Latino Education Advocacy Days (LEAD) Summit on Thursday, March 26, 2015 on the UTSA Main Campus. Global LEAD brought together an international group of educators, scholars, activists and community members to engage in conversations about issues related to Latino education worldwide. Award-winning actor Tony Plana provided the keynote address for the summit.

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Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies moves to UTSA Downtown Campus

As of this past summer, the UTSA Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) has relocated its faculty and administrative offices to the UTSA Downtown Campus. This places three of the UTSA College of Education and Human Development’s (COEHD) six departments at the Downtown Campus, all three of which are graduate-level programs.

“This is a very deliberate and significant move for both the college and the Downtown Campus,” shared COEHD Dean Betty Merchant. “The Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies already plays a critical role in developing the leadership in public schools as well as community colleges and four-year colleges in San Antonio. Being downtown will make our faculty and students closer in proximity and more accessible to the communities we serve. Additionally, relocating to the Downtown Campus will create new opportunities for ELPS faculty to collaborate with colleagues in the colleges of Public Policy and Architecture, Construction and Planning.”

ducational leaders in K-12 and higher education settings, with an emphasis on preparing leaders who can work effectively in ethnically, racially, socially and linguistically diverse environments. The department offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. In addition, the department offers certification programs for educators interested in becoming principals, superintendents or higher education administrators.

“The ELPS programs have always been a very strong component of graduate education at UTSA, and it is exciting to welcome ELPS students and faculty to their new home downtown,” said UTSA Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs John H. Frederick.

The move became possible after the College of Business moved some offices from the Downtown Campus to the Main Campus in spring 2015.

“The ELPS department’s move downtown adds to both the programs and degrees the Downtown Campus offers on urban issues, research and leadership,” said Jesse T. Zapata, senior vice provost of UTSA Downtown and academic and faculty support.

The ELPS faculty and administrative offices can be found on the fourth floor of the Buena Vista Building.

The department’s Center for Research and Policy in Education – a think tank on Latino/a student success and college completion – has also moved to the Downtown Campus and can be found in the Buena Vista Building, Room 4.356.

The department’s Center for Education Leadership, Policy and Professional Development, which creates opportunities for educational leaders to grow professionally and to find ways to improve academic achievement for all students, is already located at the Downtown Campus in the Durango Building, Room 4.226.

Traditionally, ELPS programs serve a high proportion of working education professionals who are completing their graduate degree as part-time students.

More ELPS courses may be offered at the Downtown Campus starting in spring 2016; however, ELPS courses will continue to be offered at both campuses in order to adequately serve students in the region.

The UTSA Downtown Campus is home to the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning and the UTSA College of Public Policy. The Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies joins the Department of Counseling and Department of Educational Psychology at UTSA’s campus in the heart of downtown San Antonio.

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