UNT College of Education Union Event Parking


UNT University Union Presidential Suite (room 406)

1155 Union Circle, Denton, Texas  76203


Google Maps: Click here


Parking available at the Union Circle Parking Garage:



Directions to the suite

Enter the Union through the double doors directly across from the Baptist Student Association building. Take the stairs to the fourth floor.

Elevator directions: Take the elevator next to the Jamba Juice/Barnes & Noble entry to the third floor. Exit right from the elevator, then veer left across the breezeway and take another right down the hallway past the art installation with the words “Our Community.” Continue straight until you see another elevator on your left. Take that elevator to the fourth floor.
The suite will be just to your left through the glass doors.

COE-planned conference focuses on community college issues

The 58th annual Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC) conference was held March 31 through April 2 in Plano. The conference was organized by Beverly Bower, a COE Counseling and Higher Education professor, executive director of CSCC and director of the Bill J. Priest Center for Community College Education at UNT, where CSCC's national office is housed. Sue Young, an administrative coordinator in Counseling and Higher Education, also helped organize the conference.

The CSCC is a subgroup of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), but this was the second year the CSCC conference was hosted separately from AACC's annual convention. Bower and Young work year-round to plan the CSCC conference logistics, such as where the conference will be held and what food will be served.

"I love the logistics - planning the conference from the beginning, coming up with food ideas and trying to meet the needs of everybody year after year," Young said. "It's a lot of fun. I think it's a very well-organized conference and that people are really pleased by it."

According to Bower, nearly 200 people from around the country attended the CSCC 2016 Conference. Bower said that conference attendees normally include professionals who teach in higher education with a specialization in community colleges, students who work in community colleges part-time while working on their doctorate, full-time doctoral students, community colleges' institutional research departments and professionals interested in research who work full-time at community colleges.

The theme of the 58th CSCC Conference was Community College Impact on Individuals and Society: Reimagining, Reconceptualizing and Redefining Research and Scholarship. The sessions showcased community college research organized around six research strands: students; organization, administration and leadership; faculty, curriculum and teaching; contexts, methods and foundations; policy, finance and economics; and international.

Multiple speakers gave presentations at the conference, including Christopher Mullin, executive vice chancellor of the Division of Florida Colleges, and Arthur M. Cohen, well-known author of The American Community College.

This year, large topics of discussion included campus carry, which community colleges plan to implement a year after universities; financing of community colleges, because free community college is a big topic for the current presidential candidates; and emerging leadership in community colleges, because many current community college presidents are at retirement age.

The conference also offered collaboration possibilities for attendees, and one session specifically focused on listening to attendees' ideas and discussing how individuals could help one another in their research.

Many publishers that have community college journals support CSCC's conference, so another session at the conference concentrated on what research publishers are looking for and what ideas they would like to see in publication. Bower said that after the conference, these journals often publish special issues including research based on this sessions' topics of conversation.

Bower hopes that those who attended the 2016 conference learned more about where community colleges and research for community colleges are going, as well as the issues community colleges have that need to be researched. She believes that if researchers know more about these issues, they will get a sense of what research will be useful at community colleges in the future and what topics they should be studying to help inform community colleges' decision making.

"This [conference] is an opportunity to really talk about the current understanding of community colleges, the current research and the emerging issues and topics for community colleges," Bower said. "It's a chance for attendees to network and share ideas, which is a lot of the opportunity, and to look at things in different ways."

The next CSCC Annual Conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Fort Worth April 6-8, 2017. For more information, visit http://www.cscconline.org/.

Students, community learn the ropes of Animal Assisted Therapy at COE workshop

By Mary Murphy

In 2000, COE Counseling and Higher Education Professor Cynthia Chandler incorporated Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) into the counseling program at UNT. It became the first accredited counseling program in the U.S. to offer training for students and community members to work with their pets in volunteer and professional settings.

Now, Chandler helps students, professionals and community members – and their pets – get registered to work in Animal Assisted Therapy, bringing the beneficial effects of AAT to a much wider audience across North Texas.

"Research has shown that within five minutes of petting a therapy dog, hormones associated with stress and anxiety go down in the person petting the dog, and hormones associated with wellness and healing go up," Chandler said.


The Workshop

Each semester, Chandler hosts an Animal Assisted Therapy Workshop on campus for students, professionals and community members who want to work with their pet as a therapy animal. Getting registered to do this is a two-part process – the handler must attend an eight-hour workshop, and the pet and handler must pass a team evaluation. Chandler hosted her most recent AAT workshop on April 9, and held team evaluations for dogs and horses April 16.

Chandler's eight-hour weekend workshops are open to anyone over the age of 10 who wants to volunteer with his or her pet. Participants who are younger than 18 must have an adult sponsor. Professionals who are interested in receiving introductory training on incorporating AAT into a professional counseling practice also often attend.

The majority of the workshop is designed to teach non-professionals and is constructed by Pet Partners, the largest therapy animal program that registers multiple types of species as therapy animals, including dogs, horses, cats, llamas and more.

Workshop attendees learn the basic precautions of volunteering with therapy animals, such as infection control and risk management. They are also taught how to read animals' body language and how to use this to gauge the pets' stress level and determine if they need a break or if they're comfortable approaching a stranger.

Chandler includes some advanced AAT training for professionals toward the end of the workshop, and explains how therapy animals add to the psychodynamics of a therapy session as a live, social being. She also expands on how counselors can read their pets' body language to learn more about their clients.

"I'm a strong believer in animal communication," said Dee Ann Knight, workshop attendee and school counselor at Walker Creek Elementary in Birdville ISD. "It was interesting to see how [this communication] could be used to help others. I learned to trust the animal, which I try to do already, but this workshop really validated that watching and listening to the animal can give insights into human behavior. They can help us with ourselves and others."

According to Chandler, there are two ways pets assist in a therapy session. First, the pet plays the role of "nurturer" by providing physiological nurturance through engagement with a human being. Pets also perform this role when they volunteer as a therapy animal.

In a therapy setting, pets also take on a second role as an "emotional distress detector." According to Chandler, animals (especially dogs and horses) can smell hormonal changes in the body, and they can smell when a person is sad, anxious or upset. When the animal smells these hormone changes in a client, it can use its body language to tell the counselor new things that the client may not be comfortable revealing outright.

"I value [my therapy dog's] sense of smell, and her sense of sight," Chandler said. "When she smells something going on with a client that the client hasn't revealed to me yet, I can read her body language and she tells me what's going on with that client. It helps the client and I get to important issues."

Although the AAT workshop only skims the surface of different techniques that can be used in a professional setting, Chandler offers two more advanced courses about AAT at UNT: the AAT Distance Learning program and a university course that is open to undergraduates, graduates and returning professionals.


The Evaluation

The weekend after the workshop, dogs and horses were tested for aptitude (how well they can follow commands like for dogs, “sit,” “down” and “stay” or accept petting) and temperament (how the animal reacts to stress, such as crowed petting, waving a plastic bag in front of them to see how they react to visual distractions and by dropping a metal can behind them to see how they handled loud noises). There are over 20 evaluation exercises each animal must pass. Each evaluation is catered to the species of the animal. This spring’s session was the first time horses were evaluated on the UNT campus.

Therapy animals must be able to remain calm in loud and stressful situations because they will often volunteer in settings that are loud and full of commotion, such as hospitals or schools.

“Not all animals have the temperament, interest or desire to do this, so we have to find out if they do,” Chandler said. “The most important thing is that the pet is happy, enjoys being with people, and shows a desire to continue [the evaluation] with a smile and a wagging tail.”

Once a team passes their evaluation, they qualify to be officially registered to practice Animal Assisted Therapy in a volunteer setting or incorporated into a professional practice. Not only does AAT benefit people in the community, but is also benefits the handler and their pet, Chandler said - the handler gets to spend more time with their pet, and the pet lives a more stimulated life going out and doing things instead of staying at home.

According to Chandler, AAT is also beneficial because it promotes the awareness of the special relationship between humans and animals.

“[AAT] keeps reminding people of the important relationship available to us between humans and animals,” Chandler said. “As long as we can be reminded of this, and remember how important it is for us as a human race to interact with and honor nature, I think it will keep us a better people - we stay kinder, we stay more compassionate, and maybe we stay a little bit more authentic.”

Chandler’s next Animal Assisted Therapy workshop will be held in September 2016. To learn more, visit www.coe.unt.edu/aat


Above, a little horse gets ready for his big moment: his evaluation with Professor Cynthia Chandler.

COE marks final week of UNT 125th celebration

The University of North Texas wrapped up its 125th celebration the week of April 11-16. Events included University Day (complete with a proclamation from Denton's mayor, a presentation of a new time capsule, a flag parade and more), Union Fest, Lab Band performances and the new Union's dedication and ribbon cutting, culminating in the formal Wingspan Gala the evening of April 16 at UNT's new University Union.

The College of Education celebrated Wingspan Week with an informal reception April 15. The UNT Libraries provided historical items from UNT's past, and Jim Laney, chair of the college's Department of Teacher Education and Administration and grandson of UNT's eighth president. James C. Matthews, spoke about his experiences growing up on campus.

To view photos from the event, click here!

UNT's Texas Higher Education Law Conference focuses on critical campus issues

By Mary Murphy

Higher education practitioners, licensed counselors, attorneys, campus police officers and others from across Texas gathered at the Gateway Center March 21-22 for the 20th annual Texas Higher Education Law Conference hosted by UNT's College of Education.

Nearly 300 attended the conference to learn more about current and upcoming federal and state laws and regulations in place for higher education.

"This conference has a history of being a very informative and worthwhile conference for folks in higher education," said Mike Smith, chief of police at Lubbock Christian University and conference attendee. "Anytime we can discuss how to be ahead of the curve, whether it's meeting legislation or our other requirements, it helps us better serve our students and our communities."

The Texas Higher Education Law Conference was founded in 1996 by Richard Rafes, a 1990 doctoral graduate of the UNT College of Education and former UNT senior vice president for administration and general counsel. He is now the interim vice president for Academic Affairs at Peru State College. Rafes began the conference while he was at UNT to help the Texas higher education community stay up-to-date with federal and state laws and regulations, as well as to generate scholarship funds for the College of Education.

The proceeds from the conference are used as scholarship money for UNT's higher education master's and doctoral programs. It is estimated that this year's conference generated $25,000 in scholarships.

At the conference, speakers gave presentations on topics including technology dangers, employee substance abuse and mental illness, new policies on campus carry, issues relating to transgender students on campus, the Clery Act and free speech. Several presentations focused on sexual assaults and hazing on campus, including a student panel discussion about the benefits of sexual misconduct prevention programs, how to prevent hazing and related incidents, and risk factors that contribute to sexual assault on campus.

According to conference evaluations, many attendees enjoyed the "Prevention in Action!" session, a student panel discussion about sexual misconduct prevention programs they found beneficial, and Steven Healy's session on the Clery Act. Specialized topics, such as legal issues surrounding construction on campus and tips for youth camps, were also addressed during breakout sessions at the conference.

"There's something here for everybody," said Marc Cutright, conference director. "We try to serve both broad interests and more specialized interests, which creates a broad and diverse draw."

One of the most beneficial aspects of the conference is the ability for practitioners to learn how their associates are handling confusing legal issues.

"We already know what we need to be compliant with from the past several years, but here we learn from our counterparts," said Clare Iannelli, dean of Compliance and Judicial Affairs at San Jacinto College. "A college can do their best to follow and be complaint, but you also want to learn – what are [your counterparts] doing? What are the new ideas out there? What are the different ways that they're being unique and complying with federal regulation?"

Cutright hopes that practitioners can find answers to these questions at the Higher Education Law Conference.

"[Those who work in higher education] are faced with difficult issues every day – sexual assaults, issues relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act, injuries on campus," Cutright said. "What we want [conference attendees] to come away with is not the ability to act as their own lawyer but to answer the initial question, 'Now what do I do?'."

The next annual Higher Education Law Conference will be held on the UNT campus March 27-28, 2017.

COE Educational Psychology faculty member selected as University Distinguished Teaching Professor

Dr. Henson

By Mary Murphy

Robin K. Henson, professor of Educational Psychology in the UNT College of Education, was recently selected as a University Distinguished Teaching Professor.

The University Distinguished Teaching Professor award recognizes tenured faculty members who have exemplified outstanding teaching and who promote exceptional teaching among their colleagues at UNT. Each year, up to five of these awards are distributed to tenured faculty. No more than five percent of UNT faculty can hold the appointment of University Distinguished Teaching Professor at any time.

"I am honored and humbled to receive this appointment. We have so many great teachers at UNT, so it means a great deal to me," Henson said. "I have been privileged to be able to learn from and model other outstanding teachers at different points in my career, as well as from many extremely bright graduate students who challenge me. This appointment has as much to do with their influences as anything else."

Henson teaches graduate-level Educational Psychology courses focusing mainly on statistics and research methods in education. According to Henson, his favorite course to teach is EPSY 6210 – Multiple Regression and Related Methods.

"This is a class where you are able to really see students from lots of different major areas grow in their understanding of what statistics can do and how our methods are all connected in certain ways," Henson said. "The conceptual understanding is exciting to see because of how it empowers students to not only conduct their own analyses, but also understand and interpret them as well."

Henson said it's fun for him to watch students grow in their understanding and usage of statistics and methods. Helping graduate students think analytically and conceptually about methods is especially enjoyable, he said.

Henson, as well as other professors who have been selected as University Distinguished Teaching Professors, will be recognized for their achievement this fall at the annual Salute to Faculty Excellence dinner and ceremony.

UNT College of Education dean announces retirement

Jerry Thomas, the dean of the College of Education at the University of North Texas, will retire in July. Thomas has served as dean since 2008. He came to UNT from Iowa State University, where he was a professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology.

UNT Provost Finley Graves said Thomas' leadership has been a significant benefit to the university.

"Since arriving at UNT as dean of the College of Education in 2008, Jerry Thomas has been an amazing leader," said Graves. "In 2010, Jerry also was appointed by then-President Rawlins as faculty representative to Athletics. His dedication to the university and our students has been an inspiration, and we'll miss his wisdom and hard work greatly."

During his tenure as dean, the College of Education brought in at least $2 million in private donations every year through 2014, with a high of $3.3 million in 2013. Total grant and contract funding for the college was more than $12 million in 2014-15.

"Dean Thomas has been very good for the College of Education," said Jan Holden, department chair of the college's Counseling and Higher Education department. "Although the college has always been strong, by every index I can think of, it is notably stronger now than it was when he became Dean. I have found him to be a model of good leadership."

Cinnamon Sheffield, senior associate athletic director at UNT, praised Thomas' consideration and eagerness to help students.

"His compassion for the students is immeasurable," said Sheffield. "I appreciate his willingness to assist wherever we needed him. And, he always has a great story and a joke or two."

UNT KHPR students win multiple awards at TACSM meeting

By Mary Murphy

College of Education students Melody Gary, Andrea Henning and Danielle Levitt recently won awards at the Texas American College of Sports Medicine (TACSM) Annual Meeting held March 3 and 4 at Texas A&M University.

Gary,a senior majoring in Kinesiology, was awarded the Undergraduate Major of the Year at UNT award as well as a TACSM Poster Presentation Award, which was decided by a vote of the attendees at the TACSM meeting.

Gary won the Poster Presentation Award for her presentation about a new novice total body strength training system called the Fish and Kangaroo Machine. Gary looked at several cardiac, metabolic and lactate measures in order to compare the Fish and Kangaroo machine with a cycle ergometer to see which gave a more productive cardio workout.

"This recognition makes me feel proud of my accomplishments, but humbled at the same time because I was chosen to represent UNT," Gary said. "This makes me anticipate what amazing opportunity is coming up next for me, and hold to this standard of excellence to accomplish it."

Levitt, a doctoral student in the Departments of Biology and Kinesiology, received second place in TACSM's manuscript competition and a $1,500 doctoral research award. Levitt plans to use her award to support her study on how alcohol consumption affects the response of mTOR signaling pathways to resistance exercise, and how this varying pathway response causes the body to respond differently to such exercise after alcohol consumption.

Levitt's award-winning manuscript, "The effect of post-resistance exercise alcohol ingestion on lipopolysaccharide-stimulated cytokines," was published in the April 2016 issue of the prestigious European Journal of Applied Physiology.

Henning, a doctoral student in the Departments of Biology and Kinesiology, also received a $1,500 doctoral research award from TACSM. She will use the funding to support her research on how consumption of a high-fat meal changes the immune cells in the blood to form plaque.

According to Jakob Vingren, an associate professor and co-director of the Applied Physiology Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation, said the TACSM awards highlight the strength of UNT's Exercise Science program and its students.

"Almost 100 of the top students in Kinesiology from Texas and neighboring states competed for these awards," Vingren said. "Winning several of these award supports the high quality of our students and their academic preparation."

COE doctoral student earns research award

By Mary Murphy

The Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America recently named UNT College of Education doctoral student Alan Chu as the recipient of its 2016 Graduate Student Research Award. Chu is an Educational Psychology major focusing on sport pedagogy.

This award is given to outstanding graduate students who have been chosen to present their research at the annual SHAPE America National Convention and Expo, this year set for April 5-9 in Minneapolis. Chu was selected out of more than 80 applicants.

Chu received the award for his research and presentation abstract titled "School Physical Activity Environment Impacts Hispanic Children's Motivational Outcomes." This study was part of a larger project funded by Chu's advisor, Tao Zhang, UNT associate professor of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation. Chu formulated his own research questions for his portion of the project and chose to focus on health-related outcomes among Hispanic children because of the documented higher rate of obesity and physical inactivity in that community.

During his study, Chu collected data from fourth- and fifth-grade P.E. classes at four schools in Denton ISD. He wanted to determine how an elementary school's physical environment (e.g., the school's gym space and equipment) and social environment (e.g., the prevalence of and support for physical activity among classmates and teachers and the quality of P.E. teachers) affected Hispanic students' feelings and behaviors concerning physical activity.

"Being an international student myself, culture is rooted in my research interests," Chu said. "Through this project, I could understand more about how people of a different culture may be motivated differently, and how we as adults can do a better job of motivating diverse children to adopt healthy behaviors."

Chu's study revealed that an elementary school's physical activity environment had an effect on the students' three basic psychological needs for motivation (autonomy, relatedness, and competence), how much effort they put forward in P.E. class, and their overall physical fitness. The results showed how important it is to develop motivational interventions for Hispanic students through improvement of elementary schools' physical activity environments.

Chu will present his research findings in a sub-session at the 2016 SHAPE America National Convention and Expo.

"SHAPE America is the biggest organization in my field that impacts the physical education and health education of every school in the country," Chu said. "I am excited to be able to present my research and increase the awareness of P.E. teachers and school administrators in on the impact of a school's physical activity environment on children." 

Higher Ed grad students, faculty shine at national events

from left to right: Brittany Markowitz, Shannon Cantlay and Brittany Ankeny.

A team of three students in the UNT College of Education's Higher Education master's program placed third in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Case Study Competition. Brittany Markowitz, Shannon Cantlay and Brittany Ankeny faced off against five other teams in the competition, which was part of the NASPA Annual Conference March 12-16 in Indianapolis.

"This is their first time attending the national conference. As their faculty sponsor for the event, I'm very proud of their hard work," said Uyen Tran-Parsons, senior lecturer in Counseling and Higher Education.

The competition challenged teams to examine diversity and racial bias at a fictional university.

Also at the NASPA conference, Amy Fann, assistant professor in Counseling and Higher Education, and graduate students Catherine Olivarez and Nydia Sanchez presented papers, and graduate student Rachel Cleveland was selected for the New Professional and Graduate Student Review Board for the NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education. 

Several UNT Higher Education students, alumni and faculty also presented at this year's American College Personnel Association National Convention in Montreal March 6-9. More than 3,000 people attended the convention, ACPA's first to be held outside the United States.

Fann and Sanchez presented a paper titled "The Experiences of American Indian College Students at Two-Year Tribal Colleges and Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institutions." And Trans-Parsons presented on "Social Justice Pedagogy and Practice: The Self as Instrument."


Delegates from UNT enjoyed a group dinner during the NASPA conference.