NEWS

Assistant Professor of Disability & Psychoeducational Studies Desiree Vega and her doctoral student, Jaclyn N. Wolf, presented at the First Generation Southwest Symposium at Northern Arizona University in September. The presentation, College Enrollment and Persistence of First-generation Latinx Students, focused on the college-going experiences and success of first-generation Latinx college students.

Together with UA school site coordinators and the Department of Disability & Psychoeducational Studies, Director of Field Experience Maggie Shafer placed 163 undergraduate student teachers for the spring 2019 semester. This includes three students at Baboquivari Unified School District, three students at Casa Blanca School in Gila River, and 14 students who are planning to student teach internationally in cities like Guanajauto, Mexico, Rosendal, Norway, and the Liang Province in China.

Hats off to Emma Mendenhall for her beautiful photo of Old Main, which was featured in a full-page layout in the recent issue of the Arizona Alumni Magazine. Not only is she our coordinator for development and alumni in the college, Emma also runs her own photography business. View more of her work here.

 We are pleased to be the recipient of one of the largest gifts in the history of the College of Education. A $1 million gift has been made to support our Worlds of Worlds, the largest collection of global literature for children and young adults in the nation, and the second largest in the world.

Teachers should have access to high quality resources to continually improve in their profession and advance in their careers. Schools and districts provide important professional development for their teachers, but they are limited by resource and time constraints, so they must focus on school or district priorities. In order to meet the broad need for high quality professional development of the diverse range and skillset of individual teachers, the College of Education is creating the Tucson Regional Teacher Professional Development Institute, funded by a grant from Community Foundation of Southern Arizona. Leading the charge for the new institute are Dean Bruce Johnson, Assistant Dean Sara Chavarria, and Professor of Educational Psychology Ron Marx. As a result of their efforts, the college received $50,000 from a donor through the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona to begin a needs assessment this fall. In the winter, the design work begins. We are proud to partner with the following entities on the creation of the institute: UA STEM Learning Center, Pima County Schools Superintendent, CITY Center Collaborative, Tucson Values Teachers, Southern Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children, Partners for Equitable Science Instruction, and several local school districts and charter schools. 

A record crowd of more than 200 attended our annual Scholarship Donor Appreciation Breakfast, an event that creates an opportunity for scholarship donors and their student recipients to meet and get to know each other.

Junior, Bekka Weismantle received the Arizona State Museum's Year at the Museum Award, a competitive work-study position from the Raymond H. and Molly K. Thompson Endowment to provide a two-semester, hands-on educational experience at the Arizona State Museum. Weismantle is pursuing a degree in Literacy, Learning, and Leadership with a minor in Family Studies and Human Development. Arizona State Museum's Community Engagement program provides a stepping stone toward her dream career of working in museum education.

A new hands-on science curriculum, co-developed by the University of Arizona and launching in three Southern Arizona high schools this fall, engages students in citizen science projects to measure air quality at various sites in and around Tucson. The Rising Vision curriculum — being piloted at Rincon and University high schools, as well as at Sierra Vista’s Center for Academic Success — has high school students measuring air quality at the Cooper Center, at their schools and at other sites in their communities, using sensors that visually detect airborne particulates

Associate Professor Jill Castek is the principal investigator on a new project supported by the National Science Foundation on how best to develop inclusive studio-based learning environments. Castek and Assistant Professor Blaine Smith will be collaborating across campus with Kevin Bonine, Jennifer Nichols, and Leslie Sult from UA Biosphere 2, and the UA Libraries, respectively. The University of Arizona team that also includes the STEM Learning Center, and the Office of Digital Learning, will be leading the way in the national conversation on designing innovation hubs for equity and inclusivity.

Have you been in a makerspace or an innovation hub? They are popping up in libraries, schools, and community spaces as places where you might experience 3D printers, coding tutorials, and even use older technology like sewing machines. More importantly, you will find people. People to teach you, learn from you, solve problems with you, and share each other's inspiration. You will likely find a community with common interests - a community that has the potential to cross income- and expertise-levels, age, race, and gender. We know that learning in these creative spaces and the digital environments they plug into can positively affect a person's relationship with skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). But, do we all feel invited to these spaces? Do all we thrive there? Can intentional design draw in the demographics that data show are systematically diverted from STEM career paths?

From February 25-28, 2019, Biosphere 2 will host a workshop for experts from academia, libraries, museums, and the like to gather, share, and discuss ideas. The broad national group will work through what type of learning takes place in these innovation spaces and identify barriers to access. The workshop outcomes will prescribe the pace and direction of how innovation spaces are designed. Importantly, the UA team will provide the National Science Foundation a summarized list of principles and assessments to anchor the future of digital learning in studio-based environments like makerspaces and suggest ways to facilitate community building specific to online learning.

More about this topic on mediashift.org

Jared Schultz, PhD, a noted leader in disabilities education and research, has joined the UA College of Education as a professor in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies and the UA Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities as the director of research. The Sonoran Center is housed within the UA Department of Family and Community Medicine, where Dr. Schultz also will have a joint appointment.  At the UA College of Education, Dr.