Counseling doctoral student earns $20,000 fellowship

UNT College of Education doctoral student Ana Guadalupe Reyes has been selected for a $20,000 fellowship from the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Reyes is a doctoral student in the college's counseling program, specializing in equine-assisted psychotherapy and LGBTQ+ issues. As a National Board for Certified Counselors fellow, she will receive funding and training to support her education and facilitate her service to underserved minority populations.

“As the daughter of two undocumented immigrants, this fellowship recognizes the sacrifices my parents made to provide me with a better education,” said Reyes. 

This fellowship will help Reyes receive further training in equine-assisted psychotherapy at the Gestalt Equine Institute of the Rockies in Littleton, Colo., and complete her dissertation in equine-assisted psychotherapy with underrepresented populations.

Reyes said that during her fellowship year she will begin drafting a business plan for a private practice/nonprofit organization dedicated to providing mental health services to LGBTQ+ youth and other underserved populations.

As part of her clinical coursework, Reyes currently serves underrepresented clients and offers bilingual counseling through UNT’s Counseling and Human Development Center.

Reyes, who received her bachelor’s degree from Tiffin University in Ohio and her master’s from Marymount University in Arlington, Va., was just one of 22 students selected for the fellowship.

Higher Ed alum elected to state Board of Directors position

By Raquel Talamantes

Hope Garcia, director of Student Services at UNT’s New College at Frisco and a 2015 graduate of the UNT College of Education’s Higher Education doctoral program, was recently elected to the Texas Association for College & University Student Personnel Administrators (TACUSPA) Board of Directors.

“I have previously served as TACUSPA’s newsletter editor for two years and director of technology for three years,” Garcia said. “TACUSPA was the first professional organization I was introduced to, and it fits me well because there is a great deal of generalist work within student affairs that is included in my job duties. I enjoy working with my colleagues in TACUSPA, so being able to work closely with them on meaningful work is a pleasure.”

Garcia was nominated for the position against a handful of other TACUSPA members. She will be in charge of managing the member and institutional database and reporting out membership status and increases to organization. She will also recruit new members.

TACUSPA brings together administrators, staff, students and other higher education student affairs professionals across the state.

“Historically, TACUSPA’s membership has been composed heavily from public, four-year institutions,” Garcia said. “I would like to work toward increasing the number of represented organizations and members from the varying levels of higher education — four-year, two-year, private, for-profit, professional and residential.”

“Along with my colleagues, I also hope to work toward ensuring that the space TACUSPA provides is one that encourages the across-the-table talk and knowledge-sharing that would provide equal benefit to these various institutional types and in turn, a holistic benefit to higher education and the students and communities each of us touch.”

With this new position, Garcia said she will strive to help institutions support students, goals and institutional livelihood. 

Garcia will be officially sworn in at the TACUSPA Fall Conference in Dallas this October.

EPSY's Mun earns national dissertation award

Rachel U. Mun, a University of North Texas professor, has been awarded the 2017 National Association for Gifted Children Dissertation Award.

Mun, an assistant professor and program steward for the master’s concentration in gifted and talented education in the College of Education's Educational Psychology department, won with a shortened version of her dissertation, titled, “Parental expectations for Asian Americans who entered college early: Influences on their academic and career decision-making.”

She will give a special session on her work at the National Association for Gifted Children conference in November.

“It is a great honor and privilege to receive this dissertation award,” said Mun. “I am humbled to have placed first knowing there were many qualified applicants.”

Mun describes her research as an intersection between gifted education, mental health and immigrant issues. For the last five years, her research has focused on social and emotional development, immigrants and culturally responsible practices, parental influences, career decision-making and educational access for special populations of gifted learners using primarily mixed and qualitative methods. Most recently, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for Research on Gifted Education at the University of Connecticut, conducting research on identifying and serving traditionally underrepresented gifted learners.

COE’s Castro elected to NAEYC Governing Board

Dina Castro, professor and current Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education in UNT's College of Edcuation, was recently elected to the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Castro has worked in the field of early childhood development and education for 35 years, conducting research and offering professional development programs for early educators both in her native country, Peru, and in the United States.

“The force driving my professional work has always been how to help children living in poverty, including those from diverse cultural and language backgrounds, have access to high-quality early childhood experiences,” Castro said. “Through rich interactions with families, early childhood educators, administrators, researchers and policy makers, I have gained a deep understanding of the early education field. This will certainly help me in making meaningful contributions to advancing NAEYC’s mission and goals.”

NAEYC focuses on promoting high-quality early learning for young children, from birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy and research. The association comprises nearly 60,000 individual members of the early childhood community and more than 300 regional affiliate chapters.


Above, Dina Castro speaks at a conference in Lima, Peru.

UNT names Elizabeth Murakami Mike Moses Endowed Chair

Elizabeth Murakami, professor and director of programs in Educational Leadership in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M-San Antonio, has been selected to serve as the Mike Moses Endowed Chair in Educational Leadership in the UNT College of Education. She will begin her role as professor of educational leadership and endowed chair in August. The position was left vacant following the retirement of faculty member Jane Huffman last year.

“It is a distinguished honor to join students, faculty and administrators at UNT in enhancing its visibility as the most significant contributor in the preparation of quality educators,” said Murakami. “The department’s strong generation of research, commitment to students and efforts in joining several national and state organizations in order to deliver the best preparation programs was a big factor in accepting this role.”

Murakami is a distinguished national educator and research fellow, having received national and international recognition for her research contributions. She earned her master’s degree and doctorate in educational administration at Michigan State University. Murakami has been dedicated to the improvement of Texas schools for more than a decade and has numerous published works that include academic journals, book chapters, creative works and edited books.

The endowed chair position was funded by Donald A. Buchholz, a UNT alumnus and member of the UNT Board of Regents. Buchholz also is the founder of Southwest Securities Inc., which established a scholarship endowment to benefit students in UNT's superintendent certification program last year.

The chair position is designed to reward an exceptional faculty member for his or her scholarship. In addition, the funding provides resources to build UNT's educational administration programs and bring increased recognition to the graduate programs in this area. The chair position is named for Mike Moses, who has served as a Texas educator for more than 30 years. Moses was the Commissioner of Education for the state of Texas from 1995 through 1999, deputy chancellor for Systems Operations at the Texas Tech University System from 1999 to 2001 and general superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District from 2001 until 2004. 

Meadows Chair Lecture - Growing Plurilingual in a Multicultural Country

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Matthews Hall 209

Dr. EgéaThe Meadows Chair Lecture Series welcomes Dr. Denise Egéa, Professor Emeritus at Louisiana State University and Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Nazarbayev University, for Growing Plurilingual in a Multicultural Country: The Case of Kazakhstan.

Denise Egéa is Distinguished Professor and Professor Emeritus at Louisiana State University, USA, and Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan. Among other titles, she is a Fellow in the Philosophy of Education Society, a Phi Kappa Phi Scholar, and an Officer in the prestigious French Ordre des Palmes Académiques. Across disciplines and borders, her primary areas of scholarship are philosophy of education and curriculum studies, culture and language studies, and philosophy and methodology of research, with a focus on ethics and on human, cultural, linguistic, and educational rights.

She is currently conducting three major research projects. The first is Education in Central Asia: Growing Pains in “The Land Beyond the River,” to be published by Springer. In a second project, funded by a grant from Nazarbayev University, she focuses on “ancient Kazakhstani philosophers,” “the philosophers of the steppe” (Akyns, storytellers, zhyrau, and bies), to explore what Kazakhstani philosophers can teach education. The third project, inspired by her students, is the topic of this presentation, “growing plurilingual in a multicultural country.”

Meadows Chair Lecture - Adolescent Writers in Offline and Online Worlds

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Matthews Hall 209



Dr. Paige WareThe Meadows Chair Lecture Series welcomes Dr. Paige Ware, Chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University, for Conventions and Conversations: Adolescent Writers in Offline and Online Worlds.

Prior to earning her doctorate in Education, Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Ware was an English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher. Fluent in Spanish and German, she was a Fulbright scholar in Germany before moving to Spain, where she taught in a bilingual Spanish-English elementary program.

Her research focuses on the use of multimedia technologies for fostering language and literacy growth among adolescents as well as on the use of Internet-based communication for promoting intercultural awareness through international and domestic online language and culture partnerships. Her research has been funded by a National Academy of Education/Spencer Post-Doctoral Fellowship, by the International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF), and by the Ford Scholars program at SMU. She is also the principal investigator of a Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) professional development grant supporting educators in obtaining their ESL supplemental certification.

Teacher Education and Administration earns inaugural equity and diversity award

The University of North Texas’ College of Education’s Department of Teacher Education and Administration earned the inaugural Inclusive Excellence Award from UNT’s Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity.

The award was presented to Jim Laney, department chair, and Miriam Ezzani, Educational Leadership Program coordinator in the department, at the Equity and Diversity Conference last month.

Laney said that several years ago his department recognized the need for professional development and took action. Faculty representatives began pursuing external professional development opportunities to increase their cultural proficiency. They also created a professional development plan for all of their faculty and graduate assistants to become proficient in culturally responsive instruction.

Laney said the $5,000 prize will be used on a faculty retreat at the end of this semester at which they will revise course syllabi as needed to remain culturally responsive. Faculty are also working on identifying a topic and guest speaker for the fall.

“Our efforts are ongoing,” Laney said.

The Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity supports and affirms efforts across the university that demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The Inclusive Excellence Award was created to recognize units who exemplify these qualities. 

Elizabeth With

Vice President for Student Affairs
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Dr. With has served as Vice President for Student Affairs since August 2010, initially serving as the division’s interim vice president beginning in January 2010. She leads the university’s efforts to provide opportunities for students and the campus community to cultivate academic, personal, and professional success and become fully engaged in campus life. Prior to becoming vice president, Dr. With was Associate Vice President for Student Development (the previous name of the division) from 2004-2010 and has previously served in several leadership positions within the division since 1998. Prior to joining UNT in 1996 as Assistant Dean of Students, Dr. With was a Discipline and Leadership Coordinator at the University of Texas at Arlington for three years.

COE doctoral student wins SERA Award

Peter Boedeker, an Educational Psychology doctoral student in UNT’s College of Education, recently won the Southwest Educational Research Association (SERA) Bruce Thompson Outstanding Paper Award. Boedeker’s degree plan focuses on research, measurement and statistics.

Boedeker researches the application of advanced statistical methods in education research, with a particular interest in meta-analysis.

“Meta-analysis is a method of consolidating quantitative findings across related studies in an effort to concisely summarize all of the results,” Boedeker said. “Within meta-analysis there are several different models for estimating the combined effect across studies. Two such models are fixed-effect and random-effects. The random-effects model is most applicable in educational research, and thus my paper focuses on this model. Just as with any model, there are options for how to estimate the parameters. The most common method is the DerSimonian and Laird Method and a less tested method is fully (hierarchical) Bayesian estimation. In the paper, I compare these two estimation techniques in the random-effects meta-analysis model. While the research itself is not focused on a particular education issue, it has implications for how to conduct meta-analysis in education research.”

His award will be presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference, of which SERA is a regional association.

“Presenting at the national conference is an opportunity to share my findings to a broader audience and converse with experts in various fields of education research,” Boedeker said. “These opportunities are critical in my development as a scholar, and I look forward to taking full advantage of them.”

Boedeker describes the submission process as more of a review than a nomination. He said individuals interested in competing for the award submit a paper to the SERA executive director during the SERA conference. Any member of SERA, including graduate students and university faculty, is eligible to compete. After all papers are reviewed, one paper is selected for the award.

“Developing the idea for the paper and then writing took several months as revision after revision iteratively improved the manuscript,” Boedeker said. “The process was fraught with challenges, but my diligence to communicate effectively the work I had done was rewarded.”

Boedeker will present his paper and discuss his work to other attendees in a special session at the 2017 AERA conference.