UNT to host alumni mixers across North Texas

UNT College of Education alumni in Tarrant, Collin, Dallas and Denton counties are invited to attend the UNT Alumni Association's Regional Summer Mixers in late July and early August. Each mixer is free and will include appetizers and a cash bar. You can register online

COE faculty members will be on hand to meet with alumni and give updates on the college. Alumni Association staff members will also be on hand to talk about the latest news from the university.

Dates and locations are:

Tarrant County

Tuesday, July 19
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Bar Louie, Fort Worth

Collin County

Tuesday, July 26
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Mexican Sugar, Plano

Dallas County

Tuesday, Aug. 2
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Happiest Hour, Dallas

Denton County

Tuesday, Aug. 9
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Hula Hut, Little Elm


Message from the dean and college news roundup - Summer 2016


Thank you for taking time to read the summer 2016 UNT College of Education newsletter! It's my first newsletter as interim dean of the college following Dean Thomas' retirement. He leaves very big shoes to fill, but I know that by working together with our excellent faculty, staff and students, I'll have no trouble continuing the college's reputation for providing the best educational experience in North Texas.

Now, a little bit about me: 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. I earned my Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Texas and my M.Ed. in Supervision and Administration at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. This fall I will begin 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 UNT College of Education is as busy as ever this summer, with several faculty members traveling internationally to conduct their research. Dina Castro, our Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education, is back in Peru, where last summer she visited a remote community in the Andes to meet with indigenous Quechua-speaking schoolchildren (we'll have a story about this year's trip in our next issue). Rossana Boyd, a principal lecturer and leader in our bilingual education program, and Nancy Nelson, our Meadows Chair for Excellence in Education, traveled to Guadalajara in May with other COE faculty and students to solidify a 15-year relationship between UNT and the Secretariat of Education for the State of Jalisco, Mexico. Read more about their adventures here.

Our COE students are doing some fantastic things right now too. Like Nydia Sanchez, a Higher Education doctoral student who won the National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for 2016-17. She is the first UNT student to ever win the award! And Krystal Johnson, a KHPR master's student, teamed up with KHPR faculty members John Collins and Scott Martin to bring Girls in the Game, a mentorship program designed to empower young girls, to Denton this spring.

I'm immensely proud to be part of the College of Education at UNT, and I hope you are tool. If you have suggestions about news or events you'd like to see from the College of Education, 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.

Alumni Spotlight: Allie Schmaltz

How did UNT’s College of Education prepare you for your career? I felt extremely prepared by the University of North Texas. The education staff at UNT did their best to mimic, discuss and simulate real classroom situations, something that is typically a very trying test. Going into my career as a teacher I had numerous resources at my disposal thanks to the wonderful faculty at UNT.


What was the most valuable thing you learned at UNT? To value each student and their background. I learned this ideology from Dr. Young while taking her “Teaching in Diverse Populations” course. She ingrained in me how important it is to relate to all students, not just the ones you identify with.


Why did you choose the UNT College of Education? I knew how renowned their education department was. I have known since I was in the fourth grade that I wanted to teach. Since that year, every decision needed to lead me to the best possible path of becoming a great teacher. Attending UNT was the obvious choice.


What led you to a career in education? I’m not sure if it was my innate need to be in charge or my love of people that first sparked my interest in teaching, but ever since I can remember I wanted to be an educator. I would play “school” with my brother and sister complete with lessons, assignments, tests and grades. The grades tended to reflect my current opinion of my siblings rather than their actual learning.


How did you feel when you won Teacher of the Year? I was in shock! I did not think a second year teacher deserved such a prestigious honor. It wasn’t until after speaking with my students that I truly understood why I was given the award; I care about them. Sometimes, in education, we forget that we are teaching human beings. Caring about them as such goes a long way.


Want to be our next Alumni Spotlight? Email claudia.taylor@unt.edu.

UNT KHPR faculty show global, national reach

Faculty in the UNT College of Education’s Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation have spent this week representing the department and demonstrating its expertise on a global and national scale.

John Nauright, new professor and department chair, will present the keynote speech at the European College of Sports Science Annual Congress in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday, July 9. The speech will be streamed live online via the ECSS web channel. The theme of the Congress is "Crossing Borders Through Sports Science," and Nauright’s speech will examine "Crossing Borders in Global Sport." The Congress consists of more than 2,800 delegates from around the world and is the leading sports science organization in Europe.

Stateside, KHPR faculty spoke at the National Strength and Conditioning Conference in New Orleans this week. Brian McFarlin, associate professor, spoke about the biological process of inflammation following muscle injury and identifying areas of this process that may be good targets for nutritional intervention. Jakob Vingren, also an associate professor, spoke about the effects of alcohol on exercise performance. The conference aims to bridge the gap between innovative science and applications in exercise and athletic performance. 


Photo: The European College of Sports Science Annual Congress in Vienna opened this week with a performance of Mozart concertos.

Education doctoral student wins national dissertation fellowship

University of North Texas doctoral student Nydia Sánchez has won the prestigious National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year. Sánchez was one of 35 winners out of a pool of nearly 400 applicants and is the first UNT student to win the award.

Barrett Taylor, Sánchez's faculty mentor, is an assistant professor of counseling and higher education. He said receiving the fellowship marks Sánchez as one of the top students in the country.

"This is a highly competitive national award," Taylor said. "To secure it, Nydia competed far beyond UNT. She stood toe-to-toe with students in education, the social sciences, policy analysis and other interdisciplinary fields that study education, and she emerged as one of the best in the country."

Sánchez's dissertation is on Latino border town students from Texas who are part of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. The working title of her dissertation is "Educational Uplift Along the U.S. – Mexico Border: How Students, Families, and Educators Cultivate a College-Going Culture in Contested Terrain."

Sánchez herself is a Gates Millennium Scholar from a border town – Brownsville, Texas. She said her personal experiences inspired her research.

"I never knew my experience growing up on the border was different until I went away for college," she said. "It was not until I was in graduate school that I reflected on its significance in my educational trajectory."

Sánchez first became interested in the field of higher education after helping her siblings get into college. As an undergraduate student, she invited her sisters to live with her during the summer semesters – a tradition that continued with her brothers. During those months, she took them on road trips to visit different universities.

"I like to tell people that my fate in higher education was written in the stars the day my little brother was born" she said. "Studying higher education formally was an outgrowth of a very real, practical need to help my siblings and other low-income, first-generation college students like me get to college."

Sánchez received her Bachelor of Science in economics from Texas A&M University – College Station. She continued her studies at UNT, receiving a Master of Science in higher education, and she is now working on her Ph.D. in the same field.

When asked what she wants to do after she receives her Ph.D, Sánchez said she wants to continue to conduct research and write about issues of access and equity in higher education.

"This fellowship is a great honor and privilege," she said. "It means a lot to me because I have been given the gift of time to sit down and use my words to paint a picture of these students, their families and their community."

UNT's Priest Center selected for elite forum

The UNT Bill J. Priest Center for Community College Education was one of 12 community college leadership programs selected by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to participate in its Dialogue on Doctoral Programs held June 16-17 in Washington, D.C.

At this meeting, participants had the opportunity to discuss with AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus research and issues that affect the direction and mission of community college leadership programs. Bumphus emphasized the large number of leadership transitions that occur annually at community colleges, and the importance of the AACC Leadership Competencies for those who aspire to successfully lead 21st century community colleges. Participants were able to provide input on the curricular fit of the competencies, and share trends in higher education leadership programs.

The Priest Center was represented by its director, Beverly L. Bower, pictured above with UNT Higher Education Program doctoral graduate Martha Ellis ('96), dean of faculty and professor at National American University, who also attended the meeting.

2016 Education Leadership Conference

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 2:00pm to 10:00pm

Crucial Conversations on Equity and Excellence

A conference for educators in positions of leadership at the K-12 and university levels (superintendents, district and school leaders, teacher leaders, university leadership, deans, chairs, program coordinators)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 8am - 4pm
Gateway Center
University of North Texas

Denton, TX

Detailed conference information and registration is available on the conference website.

8th Annual Adventures in Autism Intervention and Research Conference

Saturday, July 30, 2016 - 1:30pm to 9:30pm

Annual conference for educators, professionals, researchers and parents, hosted by the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center

  • Discover the latest in autism research, intervention and therapies from knowledgeable experts

  • Network with hundreds of parents and professionals from the autism community.

Renowned Keynote Speakers and 20+ Presentations

Morning Keynote Address by Dr. Connie Kasari (UCLA):  “Update on Interventions – Active Ingredients and Deployment in the Community.”  Dr. Kasari will also conduct a breakout session on “School-based Interventions and Social Development in ASD.”

Paul Collins, a featured writer on National Public Radio, and author of Not Even Wrong: A Father’s Journey into the Lost History of Autism, will discuss “The Next Adventure,” an update about his son’s education and therapy, and the challenges of serving young adults with ASD.  Paul’s breakout session will address his perspectives about the differences between best practices and actual practices.

Additional Breakout Session Topics include:

  • Reducing aggressive behavior in children with autism
  • Developing executive functions
  • Antecedent strategies for parents, teachers, and practitioners
  • The role of community and social supports for college students with ASD
  • Academic accommodations: evidence-based strategies
  • “Make it, or Break it!” The case for technology in autism
  • Social-communication skills and ideas for teaching
  • A function-based approach to comprehensive behavioral programming
  • Autism in the 21st Century – technologies for professionals and parents
  • Autism and pseudo-science

Detailed information is available on the conference website.

DFST Summer Practicum Career Fair

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 10:30pm to Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 12:00am

Chestnut Hall 120

flyerCome join us to learn more about internships and working with community and social service organizations focused on bettering the lives of children and families.

All majors are welcome!

Explore over 20 agencies in the DFW area!

  • Camp Copass
  • The Gladney Center for Adoption
  • Vogel Alcove
  • UNT Dallas
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Dallas Association of Parent Education
  • Texas Elite All Stars
  • Community Storehouse
  • Texas Discover Gardens
  • The Reading Ranch
  • Spring Spirit Baseball
  • Spirit Horse
  • Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home
  • Child Care Associates
  • Cancer Support Community
  • Prestonwood Baptist Church
  • Club SciKidz
  • Children’s Advocacy Center
  • University Behavioral Health
  • Communities in Schools
  • UNT Football
  • UNT Center for Play Therapy

UNT hosts dual-language science teacher summer institute

This month, three North Texas science teachers are becoming students again. They are taking part in a summer science institute at the University of North Texas that will help them develop lesson plans in both English and Spanish. 

"There is a great need for more scientists, especially in the Hispanic population," said Rossana Boyd, principal lecturer in the Department of Teacher Education and Administration's Bilingual/ESL Teacher Education Programs. "This institute plants the seeds with teachers who can pass on their new curriculum to their peers and students. In the end we hope to inspire English language learners to become scientists."

The teachers, Sabrina Estrada and Jonathan Hernandez from Denton ISD and Maria Estella Hernandez from Irving ISD, are spending three weeks learning from senior UNT scientists. They attend classes with research scientists, conduct experiments and develop instructional objectives to create lesson plans that will help pass on their new knowledge to English language learners.

"We are getting great feedback from the teachers," said Richard Dixon, distinguished research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. "It's also good for our team. We have researchers who are great in the lab and now they are learning to communicate their complicated research directly to the people who matter most, those who teach our children."

The teachers will also be provided with laboratory materials to share with their students. The program is funded by the National Science Foundation and runs through June 30.


Above, teachers learn as part of the summer institute.