Higher Education Faculty Scholarship

Purpose: A fund in honor of the Higher Education faculty to provide scholarships for doctoral students majoring in Higher Education. 


  1. Be a Higher Education doctoral student with continuous enrollment in fall and spring semesters;
  2. Be in good standing;
  3. Have a GPA of at least 3.5;
  4. Meet the minimum entrance and continuing academic performance standards of the College of Education Department of Counseling and Higher Education in effect at the time of any award;
  5. Enroll as a doctoral student in Higher Education with at least 6 semester hours.

Curriculum & Instruction master's student ready for second career in the classroom

Sue Dinaro always loved being an elementary school teacher, and after four years, she was on her way to becoming a master teacher. But when she moved from New Mexico to Texas when her husband’s job wasSusan Dinaro relocated, she had trouble finding a teaching position and knew she’d have to look for something else. Wanting to stay in education, she came across an opportunity at the University of North Texas that tapped into her first career in law enforcement.

Little did she know that accepting the position five years ago at UNT – plus a special scholarship for faculty and staff members – would put her one step closer to going back to the classroom.

In the meantime, her UNT job seemed a perfect match.

“This was coming back home for me,” says Dinaro, who landed in the UNT Police Department as a support specialist in charge of property and evidence. “Everything fit.”

Dinaro thrived in her role at UNT, and this year, she was named “Property Technician of the Year” for the entire state by the Texas Association of Property and Evidence Inventory Technicians.

Still, that itch for teaching kids never left. Dinaro decided to get recertified in Texas – unsure whether she’d ever have the chance to teach again.

“There are so many kids out there who struggle,” Dinaro says. “You have to learn to read before you can get anywhere. So many kids, and even adults, don’t have that love of reading, but a good teacher can inspire them and create in them a fire and interest to want to read.”

After learning about her past in teaching, several of Dinaro’s police colleagues, as well as her family, encouraged her to enroll in the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree program through the UNT College of Education. Then, co-workers informed her about UNT’s Faculty/Staff/Retiree/Dependent Educational Scholarship – which pays the UNT Board of Regents-designated tuition and mandatory fees for qualifying individuals who are pursuing secondary degrees. 

“There is nothing holding you back if you apply yourself,” says Dinaro, noting that the excuses she had for not getting her master’s degree were gone. “It’s an excellent scholarship.”

Now in her first year as a UNT student, the former teacher is going back to school – for the third time – to pursue a teaching career.

Dinaro first started her bachelor’s degree in the 1980s. However, she chose work over school after receiving a job offer from a police station. The first of her four children came along shortly thereafter, and school was put on the back burner. She finally completed her bachelor’s degree in 2004 and taught until her family moved to Texas seven years ago.

Now, Dinaro, 53, says the curriculum and instruction program has been a perfect fit for her post-retirement career plans, giving her the ability to eventually return to teaching in a new, expanded role.

“This isn’t the typical college path people choose to take,” she admits. “It’s not the easiest thing, but you have to think that ‘maybe I can do it.’”

Working with her supervisors in the police department, she has been able to adjust her schedule to fit in classes and coursework. The ability to take online courses will help, too.

“I see the future of UNT involving online courses,” Dinaro says. “UNT has come full circle from a small teachers college to now offering classes in education that are fully online. It meets the needs of today’s students.”

She’s not entirely sure where the degree will take her, but she hopes to eventually pursue an instructional post that allows her to lead the charge for curriculum decision-making and mapping for a team of teachers.

“Someone needs to give you a push sometimes,” she says. “My co-workers at UNT kept me encouraged in my pursuit of an excellent education.”

Global Perspectives in Education Research

Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Matthews Hall 209

PDF flyerThe Global-Local Dialectic: Issues of Language Education

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Presented by Dr. Nancy Nelson
Professor of Education and Meadows Chair for Excellence in Education

and the Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education & Meadows Chair for Excellence in Education

Please join us for lunch and conversation!


Free workshop aims to give educators insight on teaching students about Holocaust

By Raquel Talamantes

Current and future educators will learn about how to best present historical information about the Holocaust to their students at the UNT College of Education’s “Echoes and Reflections: Leaders in Holocaust Education” workshop.

The event, set for Nov. 4 at UNT’s Willis Library, is particularly designed for pre-service and certified middle school and high school teachers who teach topics about the Holocaust, but it is open to the public. The workshop is free, thanks to support received through a UNT Office for Faculty Success Mentoring Grant.

The event was coordinated by Ursula Schwarz, associate project director for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). She reached out to COE Librarian Jo Monahan, who then contacted Educational Psychology Professor Rebecca Glover to collaborate on the event.

“The COE was given this opportunity by complete chance,” Monahan said.

According to Glover, the workshop will feature speaker Kim Klett, a teacher of A.P. English Literature and Composition and Holocaust Literature at Dobson High School in Meza, Ariz., and a member of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).

“Attendees will be provided a curriculum book with lesson plans and access to a variety of online resources designed to develop best practices for teaching about the Holocaust,” Glover said. “Jo was glad to see the speaker will have both primary and secondary resources for the attendees. The curriculum and resources also provide educators with tools that give guidance regarding individual responsibility in a diverse society and to maintain respect for others’ differences.”

The goal of the workshop is for participants to gain knowledge and skills about how to discuss Holocaust information with students, as well as ways to enhance educators’ teaching skills on the topic. Glover and Monahan hope what attendees learn at the workshop will be taken back and taught in their classrooms.

“What a wonderful opportunity to have this training available to us, especially because of the politics of the world at this time,” Monahan said. “It’s amazing that we can have a conversation related to diversity and history despite all the terrible things that have happened, and we can give future teachers the education and training to deal with these topics in an appropriate manner.”

The event is set for 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, in Willis Library room 140. Participants must register at http://www.library.unt.edu/echoes before the event.


Community college access, affordability focus of upcoming symposium

By Raquel Talamantes

The UNT College of Education will host a fall symposium focusing on how policy affects community college access and affordability on Thursday, Oct. 27, at Brookhaven College in Dallas. The Bill J. Priest Center for Community College Education, in partnership with the Dallas County Community College District, designed the program to help North Texas higher education professionals gather and reflect on policies that affect students across North Texas today.

“This forum brings together higher education professionals who are familiar with innovations that address community college finance in different states and at the national level to share their understandings and perspectives for discussion by North Texas community college/higher education professionals,” said Beverly Bower, the UNT Don A. Buchholz Endowed Chair and Professor of Higher Education.

Symposium speakers include Paul Fain, news editor for Inside Higher Education; Patrick B. Crane of the Oregon Higher Education Commission; Emily House of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission; and Joe May, chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District. The panelists will give their opinions on what needs to be done to ensure proper policies are put in place for North Texas students.

The symposium’s goal is to bring attention to community college students’ struggle to pay for their higher education as they move toward achieving professional and personal goals. Bower said community colleges face the challenge of financing their services and programs that are beneficial to a student’s ability to succeed. This is why policies have been made by the state, community colleges and universities to try and ease this process so students can receive the best and least financially straining education possible, she said.

“I hope symposium participants will leave the event informed about different approaches to community college financing and funding, as well as the effects these innovations can have on student access and success,” Bower said. “I also hope that they develop new ideas from the day’s discussion that they can take back to their campuses to improve student access and affordability.”

Bower said the symposium also aims to remind participants that many college students struggle to pay for basic needs like housing and food. To help raise awareness, symposium participants are encouraged to bring peanut butter, protein (tuna fish, canned chicken, canned meat), pasta, ramen, canned fruit, toiletry items, baby food, diapers, wipes and/or any non-perishable food item to donate to The Cave, Brookhaven College’s food pantry.

The symposium is set for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27. To R.S.V.P., visit http://dcccd.info/UNTfallsymposium.

Global Perspectives in Education Research

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Matthews Hall 209

PDF flyerSituating Readers in the Global Society through Intercultural Perspectives: Critical Research in International Children's and Adolescent Literature

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Presented by Dr. Janelle B. Mathis
Professor of Education

and the Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education & Meadows Chair for Excellence in Education

Please join us for lunch and conversation!


Global Perspectives in Education Research

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Matthews Hall 209

PDF flyerIntercultural and Bilingual Education in Peru: A Study with Indigenous Communities in the Amazon

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Presented by Dr. Dina C. Castro
Professor of Education and Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education

Presented By the Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education & Meadows Chair for Excellence in Education

Please join us for lunch and conversation!


K-12, higher education leaders to grapple with taboo topics at UNT conference

What: The 33rd annual Educational Leadership Conference at the University of North Texas. This year’s theme, “Crucial Conversations on Equity and Excellence,” will feature talks, presentations and interactive group activities designed to bring issues such as race, faith and sexual orientation to the forefront of education conversations and initiatives. 

When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 9 (Wednesday).

Where: UNT's Gateway Center, 801 North Texas Blvd.                    

Register: Deadline is Oct. 31 (Monday). $150 for general registration. $75 for a currently enrolled UNT student or employee. Register and get information at http://www.coe.unt.edu/conferences/2016-education-leadership-conference.

Parking: Parking permits for the special event zone of Lot 20, located across the street from the Gateway Center, are included with registration.

Media: To reserve parking and press passes, contact Monique.Bird@unt.edu or 940-369-7782 by Oct. 28 (Friday).

Race and ethnicity, gender, language, sexual orientation, faith and ableness – topics often described as too taboo for conversation – will be the subjects of the 2016 Educational Leadership Conference at the University of North Texas. The longtime annual event fosters thought around learning topics that can create large-scale change in educational institutions.

“We really wanted to take on concepts that are typically deemed undiscussable,” said Miriam Ezzani, assistant professor of teacher education and administration in the UNT College of Education. “After all, our students in K-12 education and higher education represent these differences in our classrooms.”

In a twist, this year’s conference, which usually targets leadership in the primary and secondary school systems, will also feature discussions of interest to K-12 teachers, as well as collegiate educators, administrators and instructors.

“It’s an opportunity for teachers and faculty to learn alongside leaders in K-12 and university institutions,” said Ezzani. “We anticipate this conference to be a springboard for deeper discussion on these topics when participants return to their schools, districts, programs, departments and colleges.” 

This year’s keynote presenters, Randy Lindsey and Ray Terrell, are two of the most prolific writers and presenters on diversity and cultural proficiency in the nation, said Ezzani. The pair will engage the audience with interactive activities on topics that can be hard to talk about – with the idea of increasing understanding, appreciation and valuing of differences and diversity. Ultimately, the goal is to close gaps in education and to build organizational support and large-scale initiatives that create access and equity for students.

The conference takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 9 (Wednesday) at the UNT Gateway Center, 801 North Texas Blvd. Register and get information online at http://www.coe.unt.edu/conferences/2016-education-leadership-conference.

The conference is sponsored by the UNT Office of the President, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity, the College of Education, the Department of Teacher Education and Administration, and the Educational Leadership Program.


Story by UNT News Service 

Counseling professor wins Outstanding Pre-Tenure Counselor Educator Award

By Raquel Talamantes

Amanda Giordano, an assistant professor in the UNT College of Education’s counseling program, has received the 2016 Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (SACES) Outstanding Pre-Tenure Counselor Educator Award. This award recognizes those who show fantastic progress in the early stages of their academic career in the areas of research, service and teaching.

“Considering that [Giordano] is still early in her career as a counselor educator, I am delighted that both her extensive accomplishments and her promising future are being recognized by a major professional counseling association,” Jan Holden, department chair of counseling and higher education, said.  “Her membership on the counseling program faculty not only serves our students and profession so well, but also contributes to the program’s nationally ranked stature and to the College of Education’s excellent reputation.”

Giordano specializes in addictions counseling and religious/spiritual issues in counseling. She also teaches courses about addictions counseling, diversity issues in counseling and counseling theory.

“I think these courses are really important, and I feel very honored to teach them,” Giordano said. “My goals as an educator are to help counseling students foster a better understanding of addiction in order to cultivate empathy for those with chemical or process addictions, and to help counseling students identify and overcome racial/ethnic biases or preconceived notions they may harbor about groups of people. It is very rewarding to be a part of those processes.”

A large portion of Giordano’s work involves research. She conducts research studies that explore collegiate substance use, sexual addiction, the association between religion/spirituality and addiction, and religious coping. During her five years at UNT, Giordano has gathered a six- to eight-member Addictions Counseling Research Team consisting of UNT master’s and graduate students and other UNT colleagues. During their three years together, they have published four studies and are currently working on a fifth.

In addition to working, teaching and conducting research studies, Giordano also serves as a board member and treasurer of the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC) and serves on two editorial review boards for counseling journals.

“I have been able to meet some amazing people in the counseling field through these service positions,” Giordano said. “Also, at the local level, I have been able to provide diversity training to non-profit organizations that are working to enhance race relations in the community.”

Giordano said her award is testament to the UNT counseling program’s commitment to junior faculty success.

“You always wonder how you can repay those who invested so much into your professional development, and I think winning an award like this is a real testament to the mentorship I have received along the way,” Giordano said. “It acknowledges the dedication of those who have trained, taught, inspired, and encouraged me thus far. I am very grateful for the men and women who have devoted their time, energy and wisdom into my career and I hope they see this award as their recognition too.”

Giordano will be recognized during the Awards Luncheon and Business Meeting at the 2016 SACES conference in New Orleans at noon October 7.

Message from the dean and college news roundup - Fall 2016

Dr. CombesGreetings!

Fall is here, and that means the UNT College of Education is in full swing!

For those of you who didn’t see our summer e-newsletter, I am Dr. Bertina Combes, and I’m serving as interim dean following Dr. Jerry Thomas’ retirement in July. I am the college’s associate dean for academic affairs and research, and I also teach courses in Special Education in the Department of Educational Psychology. This fall marks my 27th year at UNT, coming to Denton after spending three years at Texas Tech University. I have two children who attend UNT, Ashley, a junior, and Julius, a sophomore. My mother, Dr. Gladys Hildreth, recently retired from UNT, having taught in the area of Development and Family Studies.

As you can see, I am deeply committed to UNT on many levels. I will continue to endeavor to ensure our students get the learning experiences they need to forge successful careers and our faculty receive the support they need in the classroom and in their research.

The college has so much to be proud of, especially our amazing students and alumni like Cecilia Joyce Price, Krystal Johnson and Nydia Sanchez.

Our faculty continue to impress as well, with four winning UNT campuswide Salute to Faculty Excellence awards this fall!

I’m immensely proud to be part of the College of Education at UNT, and I hope you are too. If you have suggestions about news or events you’d like to see from the college, please drop us a line at coe.alumni@unt.edu. And if you would like to support the college by making a gift, please visit www.unt.edu/givenow or contact Keturi Beatty at Keturi.Beatty@unt.edu or 940-891-6860.

Bertina H. Combes, Ph.D.
Interim Dean and Professor