Department of Teaching & Learning Hosts Students and Professors from the Netherlands and England

Students and professors from the Netherlands, as well as observation students from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England, recently visited the COE to learn about teacher education in the U.S. COE graduating student teachers attended and shared information about teaching in southern NV as well as the new Classroom of the Future technology initiative. For more information about the Classroom of the Future, contact

COE Student Named 2016 Truman Scholar

Ms. Hannah Kelley was chosen as one of only 54 students nationwide to win the prestigious 2016 Truman Scholar Award.

By Francis McCabe • Read article on UNLV News Center.

Kelley, a junior in UNLV’s College of Education and Honors College, is one of just 54 college students nationwide selected for the $30,000 award based on academics, public service leadership potential.

UNLV undergraduate Hannah Kelley is one of just 54 college students nationwide to win the prestigious 2016 Truman Scholar Award, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation announced Wednesday evening.

Truman Scholars are selected for stellar academic and leadership performance and receive a $30,000 scholarship toward graduate school. Award winners also get the chance to participate in professional development programming to help prepare them for careers in public service leadership.

This is the second year in a row a UNLV Honors College undergraduate has won the prestigious award. And Kelley is the fourth UNLV student to win the award since 2008.

“Being recognized as a Truman Scholar is wonderful validation of Hannah’s incredible efforts, her desire to give back, and what we have always known at the Honors College – that she is amazing,” said Marta Meana, dean of the UNLV Honors College.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in education, the 21-year-old is hoping to dive into a teaching role here in Southern Nevada. “I want to start out as a teacher in the Clark County School District – the community that literally gave me everything I have,” she said. The 15-year plan, which the Truman Scholarship folks make applicants map out, includes four or five years of teaching before pursuing graduate work, Kelley said. Her plans for the summer will take her to the Mediterranean where she will be writing and reporting for an arts and culture blog in Israel.

Kelley, who will be the first in her family to graduate from college, said while in high school she always felt higher education was unattainable until some teachers began to encourage her. “I always wanted to go, but it seemed like a mysterious thing that was out of reach,” she said.

But Kelley had top-notch grades — she was valedictorian at Green Valley High School — and soon New York University offered her a scholarship. While it was a substantial offer, Kelley said, tuition expenses were still beyond her reach.

Kelley had never really considered UNLV, but that changed during a steakhouse lunch offered by the university to local high school valedictorians. She was offered a full scholarship and the opportunity to attend UNLV’s flourishing Honors College. “I had always had this idea of UNLV being a gigantic commuter school with no sense of community,” Kelley said. “But the Honors College is everything I was hoping for. It offers small class sizes under 20 students and makes you feel like you are attending a small liberal arts college, not a gigantic research university.”

And it was only by happenstance that Kelley even considered applying for the Truman Scholarship. She was attending an Honors College workshop about national scholarships being led by her friend and 2015 Truman Scholarship winner Daniel Waqar, when Kelley thought she might apply. “Every single thing I learned about the Truman Scholarship, about being an agent of change, how they were looking for people committed to a lifetime of public service, to work on public policy in health, education, and other fields… it just fit.”

Kelley knew she wanted to be a teacher to give back to the community. “But I also thought about how we can improve public education. And hearing those words about being an agent of change and giving a lifetime to public service, that’s the way I’ve always thought. That’s the purpose of my life,” Kelley said.

Earlier this week, Kelley learned about winning the Truman award while attending an afternoon class of Teaching and Learning Secondary Education. She covered her mouth with her hands as tears streamed down her face. She was overcome with joy. Dean Meana, who made the announcement, along with Education Dean Kim Metcalf and Kelley’s advisor Andrew Hanson, embraced her as fellow classmates applauded.

It was a moment Kelley won’t soon forget. “I never gave myself the credit for the things I could accomplish. I’m very humbled by this award. But I think it shows that anyone can do something like this if they just let themselves,” she said.

Kelley has maintained a strong academic record at UNLV – her GPA is 3.99 – while holding down jobs as a barista and sales associate.

Candidates for the Truman Scholarship go through a rigorous, multi-stage selection process. In 2016, there were a record number of 775 candidates for the award nominated by 305 colleges. The 200 finalists for the award were interviewed in March and early April at one of sixteen regional selection panels. The 54 Truman Scholars will receive their awards in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum on May 29 in Independence, Missouri.

About the Harry S. Truman Scholarship

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 to be the nation’s living memorial to President Harry S. Truman. The Foundation has a mission to select and support the next generation of public service leaders. The Truman award has become one of the most prestigious national scholarships in the United States.

Landscape for 21st Century Classrooms and Schools

Dr. Leann Putney co-edits the 24th Edition of the Association of Teacher Education’s Yearbook.

Teacher Education Yearbook XXIV: Establishing a Sense of Place for All Learners in 21st Century Classrooms and Schools, edited by LeAnn G. Putney and Nancy P. Gallavan, has just been released by Rowman & Littlefield.

The Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) Yearbook XXIV offers 16 captivating chapters related to establishing a sense of place or belonging for P-12 students, classroom teachers, teacher candidates, and teacher educators. The chapters include theory, research, concepts, principles, practices, and programs that inform and support as well as question and challenge readers from multiple perspectives. Readers gain insights and inspiration that illustrate ways teachers and learners negotiate meaning in environments where everyone experiences social and cultural connections with personal and academic fulfillment.

ATE YearbookCollectively, the authors identify, describe, analyze, and advance issues associated with creating both an individual and a shared sense of place among the ever-changing populations in contemporary P-12 schools and classrooms. Like human geographers, teacher educators and educational researchers study environments where children grow up and create bonds with their early environments that continue to influence them throughout their lives based on the ways in which meaning is negotiated in that early space. Candidates, teachers, and teacher educators benefit by investigating the presence and power of these landscapes impacting the teaching, learning, and schooling.

Click here for information on ordering Teacher Education Yearbook XXIV. Click here for information on other books co-published by ATE and Rowman & Littlefield.

Project CULTURED: Training for Exceptionality and Diversity

Project CULTURED Funds Eight Doctoral Scholars in Special Education.

With Clark County School District (CCSD) as one of the fifth largest diverse school districts in the nation facing a teacher shortage, training programs to prepare students to understand and respond to exceptionalities and diversity is critical. Project CULTURED, which stands for College and University Leaders Trained to Understand and Respond to Exceptionalities and Diversity, is one such federally-funded program aimed towards preparing future leaders for work in CCSD. The expected outcomes of the project are to prepare graduates to: (a) work at colleges and universities, (b) conduct high quality research in urban public schools, and (c) provide high quality teacher education of teachers to target the achievement of this population in urban settings.

Project CULTURED is a federal grant intended to develop doctoral scholars in research, teaching, and service as it relates to the provision of access to college and career readiness standards, especially for students with disabilities identified as English Language Learners. The five-year training program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education for $1.03 million, is intended to recruit and retain high quality doctoral students through the provision of support for tuition, stipends, travel money, research funds, and professional organization membership.

In addition to their doctoral studies, scholars funded through Project CULTURED participate in a series of internship activities designed to enhance and expand their understanding of conducting high quality research in urban public school settings. Project CULTURED scholars are also involved in an urban public school research internship during the four years of their program, in which they shadow the administrators and teachers on the school campus to develop a thorough understanding of the variables that impact research in urban public school environments. The first year of their internship is focused on developing a thorough understanding of the variables impacting urban research. The second and third years of this internship will focus on developing a pilot study to address the academic and behavioral outcomes of high needs students with disabilities, and then bringing that study to scale. Finally, they teach a series of courses and serve on various committees to fully understand the role the academy plays in public school educational policy.

The seven doctoral scholars funded through Project CULTURED are as follows: Kathy Ewoldt, Matthew Love, Sarah Murphy, Heike Ruedenauer-Plummer, Dominique Tetzlaff, Kristan Withey, Katelyn Zirkus.

“Being a doctoral scholar means I am able to immerse myself in my studies 24/7. I don’t have to work as a full time special education teacher during the day, and then have to switch hats to focus on being a doctoral scholar. I’m able to solely focus on my studies.”

Kathy Ewoldt

“Being a doctoral scholar has been a great experience and under taking. With the experience has come a myriad of opportunities to grow personally and professional. Upon completing my studies, I hope to use the knowledge I’ve gained in the field of special education to develop effective methods for transitioning young adults with disabilities into a college or career path of their choice, ultimately aiding in this portion of the population experiencing a high quality of life and actively participating in their communities.”

Matthew Love

“I am truly excited to extend the skills and knowledge I will acquire and strengthen during my doctoral program as an educator and leader in higher education. Helping undergraduates and other professionals pave their educational path and career is the ultimate highlight to obtaining my Ph.D.”

Sarah Murphy

“Being a scholar in the program represents an incredible opportunity to bridge the gap between what we learn in class, and the actual practice application. It is also a chance to see and experience real world practice fields, observe, and conduct research in fields that were new to me. It is a great honor to be chosen as a scholar, and uniquely allows me to get the needed financial support for pursing my doctoral degree.”

Heike Ruedenauer-Plummer

“Being a doctoral scholar has provided me the opportunity to apply my leadership skills and develop relationships with leaders in the community and in the field of education. Ultimately I have been able to support a greater number of teachers and students through my research and bring about positive change for children with disabilities and their families. My training will prepare me to work with school districts and various personnel in higher education to engage in impactful, relevant research that can revolutionize the learning of students with disabilities. I feel empowered to make significant changes for at-risk populations and bring my institution to the next level in teaching and scholarship.”

Dominique Tetzlaff

“It means getting to be a leader in the field and a catalyst for change. It means getting to have a broader impact on the field about which I care so passionately. Project CULTURED allows me the opportunity to experience and train in all the areas in which I will be expected to participate as a professor. I am able to complete meaningful research on local school campuses and share my findings via the courses I teach, scholarly articles I write, and professional conferences I attend. I am so lucky to have a mini taste of my future career while under the guidance of high quality faculty.”

Kritsen Withey
“Moving forward, I hope to have an everlasting impact on both the lives of pre-service teachers and their prospective students through challenging, real-life teaching.”

Katelyn Zirkus

Dr. Joseph Morgan, Assistant Professor, serves as the Principal Investigator of the grant, with Drs. Kyle Higgins (Co-Principal Investigator), Joshua Baker, and Tracy Spies serving on the project team. Team members are faculty in the Department of Educational and Clinical Studies.