Welcoming New Faculty

The College of Education is excited to introduce eight new faculty members joining our organization beginning this fall. A diverse group in research expertise and backgrounds, these new faculty members are an excellent resource of significant knowledge that impact practices in the education and behavioral health fields.

Wonjoon Hong (ORSP Post-Doctoral Scholar), Jackie Cordova, Tina Vo, Patrice Leverett, Hailey Love, Bradley Marianno, Xin Zhang, Heather Dahl and Brett Gleason join the ranks of the UNLV College of Education faculty beginning Fall 2018.

Jacqueline Cordova
Visiting Assistant Professor
Educational Psychology & Higher Education

Jacqueline Cordova received her B.S. in Psychology from South Dakota State University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from UNLV. She teaches courses in learning and cognition, research methods, and introductory and intermediate statistics. She also coordinates the Educational Psychology Research Management System. Her current research focuses on the role of motivation and emotion in conceptual change learning. Her research has been presented at national and international research conferences, as well as published in peer reviewed scientific journals, including Contemporary Educational Psychology, Educational Psychology, Journal of Geoscience Education, and International Journal of Environmental and Science Education.


Heather Dahl
Assistant Professor
Counselor Education, School Psychology & Human Services

Dr. Heather Dahl received her Ph.D. in Counseling from Old Dominion University, with cognates in Qualitative Research and Supervision. She received her M.S. in Mental Health Counseling from Central Washington University. Her research interests include: suicide prevention and assessment, crisis intervention, trauma, research methodology, integration of career issues into clinical practice, and social justice issues in professional practice. She has held service positions at the local, regional, national, and international level, including: current President of the Western Association of Counselor Education & Supervision, Editorial Board Member for Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, and Institutional Review Board Member.


Brett Gleason
Assistant Professor
Counselor Education, School Psychology & Human Services

Dr. Brett Gleason graduated with his Ph.D. in Counseling from Old Dominion University, serving as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the human services program throughout his doctoral program. His dissertation was titled “Phenomenological Investigation of Wellness and Wellness Promotion within Counselor Education Programs.” Previously, Dr. Gleason was an Assistant Professor in the counseling program at Eastern New Mexico University. During his time at his previous positions, Dr. Gleason has helped with preparing for CACREP accreditation, served as faculty advisor for student organizations, advising students, serving as Assistant Editor for the Journal of Human Services, in addition to teaching several courses in both human services and counseling programs.


Patrice Leverett
Assistant Professor
Counselor Education, School Psychology & Human Services

Patrice Leverett received her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in educational psychology. Prior to completing this degree, Dr. Leverett served as a public school special education teacher and as a school psychologist. Patrice is committed to the wellbeing of the whole student and reflects those beliefs in her work as a mentor and an educator. Her current research interests include the design and evaluation of culturally responsive interventions, student advocacy, the impacts of intersectionality on educational outcomes, and ultimately increasing diversity and retention in higher education. Patrice’s teaching interests include consultation, assessment, crisis management, and culturally responsive practice. Patrice completed her M.S. in education at Queens College of New York and her B.A. at the University of Pittsburgh. She is very excited to start her position as an assistant professor in school psychology.


Hailey Love
Assistant Professor
Early Childhood, Multilingual & Special Education

Dr. Hailey Love’s scholarship focuses on high-quality inclusive education across early childhood settings. She has conducted research on inclusive practices, the preparation of inclusive early childhood educators, and environmental features that influence the quality of young children’s inclusive experiences. Additionally, Dr. Love’s research examines family-professional partnerships particularly between educators and families of color. She hopes her work will help early educators better serve children and families with various abilities, recourses, and needs within high-quality inclusive classrooms. In addition to research, Dr. Love has taught courses in inclusive education, child development, and early childhood education curriculum for young children with disabilities.


Bradley Marianno
Assistant Professor
Educational Psychology & Higher Education

Bradley D. Marianno graduated with his PhD in urban education policy from the University of Southern California (USC). He also holds master’s degrees in sociology and economics from Brigham Young University (BYU) and USC, respectively. Marianno’s research focuses on the consequences of local and state education policy change for educational governance with a substantive focus on state and federal teacher labor policy, teachers’ unions and collective bargaining, and the micro politics of local school district policy decision-making and implementation. His recent work includes a study of teacher contracts in California, Washington, and Michigan, a multi-year study focusing on the role of teachers’ unions in state politics, a qualitative case study on teacher contract implementation in California school districts, and a multiple case study of the micro politics of bargaining negotiations in California and Michigan.


Tina Vo
Assistant Professor
Teaching & Learning

Tina Vo earned a PhD from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln focused on science education and technology. Dr. Vo specializes in supporting elementary (K-8) teachers and students to engage in science practices (e.g., asking questions, using models, thinking computationally). As a former middle school teacher, she believes in developing collaborative spaces for teachers and preservice teachers to develop and support critical thinking, encourage the consumption and implementation of relevant information, and personal reflection on learning. To that end, current research focuses include making and modeling towards solving community problems, preparing elementary science teachers for 21st-century classrooms, and the role of epistemological considerations in classroom negotiations. Other research interests include games and simulations tied to scientific modeling, technology integration to support science in elementary contexts, and professional development supporting elementary teachers’ engagement with science and educational geology.


Xin Zhang
Visiting Assistant Professor
Early Childhood, Multilingual & Special Education

Xin Zhang was born and raised in China and earned her bachelor’s degree in English education. Xin came to the U.S. as a visiting scholar teaching Chinese language and Chinese history in the University of Texas at Brownsville, where she completed an MAIS in English and history and government as minors. She also completed a second M.A. in East Asian studies at the University of Arizona, where she received her Ph.D. in language, reading and culture with an emphasis in bilingual and multicultural education. Xin’s total experience ranges from classroom second language teacher in both public school and university levels to preservice language teacher educators in the U.S. and China. Her research focus is on ESL teacher preparation and development through community-based field experience. Specifically, she explores ways to build on and integrate family and community language and culture resources into English and content areas of teaching.

From Anywhere to Las Vegas: Complete Your Teacher Education Doctorate at UNLV

Coming in Summer 2019, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas will begin a new Ph.D. program in Teacher Education designed for individuals living outside of southern Nevada. Students will have the opportunity to spend summers in Las Vegas taking courses in person and take online courses during the school year.

This is an exciting opportunity for teachers and administrators who want to pursue a Ph.D., but don’t want to quit their job! The Ph.D. in Teacher Education at UNLV prepares graduates for a variety of jobs including: university professor, curriculum leader, district administrator, educational consultant, and more.

United States citizens and international students are encouraged to apply. The program is designed to keep tuition costs down and support interested students from all over the world. See the below flyer for more information.


Young Adult Literature Comes of Age

Authors and educators gather at UNLV to discuss the future of books for children and teens.

By Kelsey Claus | Originally posted on UNLV News Center

Books save lives — just ask any librarian, teacher, author, or college professor who works with young people. That phrase became the unofficial mantra of the first Summit on the Research and Teaching of Young Adult Literature, held at UNLV in June.

It brought new books, new techniques, and new resources to those who want to profoundly engage with teens through books that relate deeply to issues in their lives — from racial inequity and school shootings, sexual assault to substance addiction, and gender discrimination to neglect.

“Reading good young adult (YA) literature not only saves lives, but it can also help kids become the best version of themselves, providing a map to navigate a world fraught with problems,” said opening keynote speaker James Blasingame, a professor at Arizona State University and executive director of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents.

The four-day summit featured more than 40 presentations and keynotes speeches from educators and authors across the nation. Topics ranged from “Rising Up: Socially Relevant Texts, Critical Literacy, and Identity,” to “Sports and Literature: How Do We Make the Connections?”

Co-hosted by the Clark County School District (CCSD), approximately 50 Southern Nevada educators completed professional development credits by participating in dynamic sessions. CCSD curriculum and instruction specialist Amy Ramer said, “We are excited to see how each of them plans to bring more YA texts and strategies they learned during the summit to their schools through infusing a variety of YA lit into their curriculum.”

The conference recognized that helping teenagers grapple with serious issues can be complicated and politically risky.

Timely Topics

Kekla Magoon, spoke about her novel, How It Went Down, a story in 18 chapters and 18 different perspectives on the shooting of an unarmed black youth. Although it is fiction, the story echoes the circumstances seen in the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

The conference can help educators inspire “teens to use their own voices to tell their own stories and make changes in the world,” Magoon said. “I left even more committed to creating dynamic YA literature, and even more convinced of its power to heal, inspire, teach, and build thoughtful empathetic leaders for the next generation.”

Laurie Halse Anderson, whose debut novel Speak examined sexual assault from the perspective of a ninth-grade victim named Melinda, read from her soon-to-be-released autobiography, Shout, which reveals her own struggles and triumphs as a teen, including being sexually assaulted, living with an alcoholic parent who had post-traumatic stress disorder, and overcoming eating disorders.

Bill Konigsberg, award-winning author of titles including Openly Straight and Out of the Pocket was the first openly gay major league/major network sportswriter. He explained how he has seen the nature of YA literature with LGBTQ characters move from the problem novel genre — with sexual orientation being the problem — to normalized fiction with characters, including protagonists, who are LGBTQ only as a part of their characterization and not merely as a plot conflict. Konigsberg read from his latest book, The Music of What Happened, a tender story of two young gay men operating a food truck in Arizona. “What I saw (at the summit) were people committed to getting kids to read books they really connect with, and scholars and teachers putting their heads together about how best to achieve that. I left feeling more hopeful about the world, to be honest.”

Chris Crutcher, recognized by experts as a major influence in the evolution of young adult literature, talked about the source of most of his material — his experience as a therapist for families and children who have experienced dysfunction through abuse and neglect. His latest book, Loser’s Bracket, explores the heart-wrenching fact that no matter how badly treated children may be, they still seek the love and attention of their biological parents.

Additional author-presenters included e.E. Charlton Trujillo, C.G. Watson, Jen Nails, Jo Shaffer, Amy Bright, Justin Joschko, and Sarah Donovan, as well as Aaron Levy, a Kennesaw State University professor and director of academics for Georgia Film Academy, who was named winner of the Georgia Young Adult Author of the Year during the conference.

Inspirational Exchange

Alice Hays, a 20-year high school classroom veteran and now college professor, noted, “Every person at the summit was there because they care about young adults and their growth. I feel privileged to have been a part of this historic event in which authors, teacher educators, and classroom professionals were able to speak freely, get new ideas, and walk away inspired by one another.”

Steven Bickmore, UNLV College of Education professor and summit organizer, expects the conference to become a regular event. “The success of the summit is a testament to the strength of the community of scholars, writers, teachers, and librarians who strive to work with adolescents.”

Committee organizers included: Crag Hill, the University of Oklahoma; Susan Slykerman, Clark County School District; Sarah Donovan, Chicago Public Schools and DePaul University; Gretchen Rumohr-Voskuil, Aquinas College; and author representative Konigsberg.

Check out images from the Summit on the College of Education’s Facebook page.

For more information on the Summit on the Research & Teaching of Young Adult Literature, visit Dr. Bickmore’s blog YA Wednesday and be sure to keep an eye out for future conferences.

Save the Date! 2018 Summit on Nevada Education

The UNLV College of Education is proud to work to expand existing best practice into “next generation practices” that address and overcome the challenges we face in education here in our state. The annual Summit on Nevada Education welcomes educators, administrators, policy makers, community leaders, teacher preparation leaders, pre-service teachers and others with a direct link to education in Nevada to gather in an open forum to share ideas, challenges and lessons to improve and celebrate Nevada education.

Save the Date!
December 3, 2018
UNLV Student Union Ballroom

Check back for more information on the upcoming 2018 Summit or contact Sheila Bray with questions.