Educator Preparation Office

Educator Preparation Office

Preparing Tomorrow's Educators

Office of the Associate Dean for Educator Preparation Programs

Cliff Harbour

Professor, Counseling and Higher Education
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Matthews Hall 207-H

Veronica Jones

Assistant Professor, Counseling and Higher Education
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Matthews Hall 214-E

I grew up in the North Dallas area and attended schools in the Richardson school district through high school. My career started in elementary education, and I taught in Richardson, Arlington, and Houston area schools for over 10 years. My bachelor’s degree is in Elementary Education from Southern University A&M College. I received my master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Houston and earned my PhD in Higher Education Administration at Texas A&M University.

At the start of my higher education career, I served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin where I became a research team member for the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color. During my time there, I had the opportunity to collaborate with centers such as the Center for Community College Student Engagement and to work with colleagues on campus-wide diversity initiatives. Through those opportunities I was asked to be a faculty affiliate for Project M.A.L.E.S. (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Success), a role in which I still currently serve.

I moved on to a Visiting Professorship at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and in fall 2017 I was ecstatic to join the Higher Education Program faculty here at the University of North Texas. My research focuses on racial identity and intersectionality, male students of color in higher education, and student engagement and activism. My main research methodology is qualitative, and I utilize frameworks such as discourse analysis and critical theories to explore structures, policies, and practices that influence underrepresented groups. I am happy to be back home in the North Texas area and am honored to work with such esteemed colleagues in our Program. I look forward to building upon my research agenda in such a supportive environment.

Research Areas

Student identity development, access and degree attainment for men of color, P-20 collaboration, student engagement and activism, discourse analysis, institutional environments and power


2015-2016 William T. Grant Foundation Officers’ Research Grant: “Programs, Policies, and Practices that Reduce Inequality”; 2014 Barbara Jackson Scholar.


Jones, V. A. (2017). Black student leaders' race-conscious engagement: Contextualizing racial ideology in the current era of resistance. Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs, 3(1), 78-99. (Available online at

Jones, V. A. (2017). The racialization of Arab panethnic identity: Exploring students’ ingroup and outgroup social positioning. Race, Ethnicity, and Education. (Available online at

Jones, V. A., & Reddick, R. J. (2017). The heterogeneity of resistance: How Black students utilize engagement and activism to challenge PWI inequalities. Journal of Negro Education, 86(3), 204-219.

Miller, R. A., Jones, V. A., Reddick, R. J., Lowe, T., Franks Flunder, B., Hogan, K., & Rosal, A. I. (2017). Educating through microaggressions: Self-care for diversity educators. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice. (Available online at

Ponjuan, L., Jones, V. A., Hernandez, S., & Palomin, L. (2017). Collaborative consciousness: Exploring community colleges’ awareness and commitment to the success of male students of color. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 24(1), 3-14.

Jones, V. A. (2016). The Black-White dichotomy of race: Influence of a predominantly White environment on multiracial identity. Higher Education in Review, 12, 1-22. (Available online at

Jones, V. A. (2014). Centrality and circumstance: Influences of multidimensional racial identity on African American student organization involvement. Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, 3(2), Article 2. (Available online at

Educational Leadership Doctorate Info Session - Dallas

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

University Centers at Dallas
1910 Pacific Ave
Dallas, TX 75201

Interested in a doctoral degree in educational leadership? Attend one of our informational sessions.

Educational Leadership Doctorate Info Session - UNT

Monday, September 25, 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

UNT Business Leadership Building

Interested in a doctoral degree in educational leadership? Attend one of our informational sessions.

Counselors receive research grant to study Native populations in New Mexico

By Raquel Talamantes

UNT College of Education Counseling faculty members Amanda Giordano, Elizabeth Prosek and Michael Schmit recently received a research grant from the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) to interview Native Americans and gain a better understanding of how they want their culture to be portrayed in diversity courses and how to best meet the mental health needs of this marginalized population. 

Giordano, a specialist in addictions counseling and co-facilitator of the counseling program’s Addictions Counseling Research Team (ACRT); Prosek, co-facilitator of ACRT and specialist in mental health outcomes; and Schmit, an assistant professor specializing in outcome research, aim to gather information from the Native Americans participating in the study that has not yet been presented in existing research literature..

“We hope to gain new knowledge and understanding of how Native men and women experience counseling, if at all; or how counselors could better serve them,” Prosek said.

The award will provide the opportunity to conduct a qualitative study to inform counselors on ways in which they can provide more culturally sensitive counseling services. Additionally, the interviews will highlight the participants’ opinions about how Native culture should be presented in graduate courses.  

“We will conduct a phenomenological study with Native people, both on and off reservations, in order to ascertain Native Americans’ perspectives of how counselors can best approach the mental health needs of Native clients,” said Giordano, who is leading the study. “Additionally, learning about the lived experiences of Native Americans’ access to higher education may help counselor educators recruit Native people into counselor-training programs. Specifically, we will conduct individual, semi-structured interviews and focus groups with Native Americans on or near reservations in New Mexico.”

Giordano said she believes the most useful insight and direction in studies like this one comes directly from the population being studied, and she wants to give Native Americans a chance to share their voice as it relates to their own culture.

“Statistics continue to highlight mental health and substance abuse needs among this population” Giordano said. “Specifically, alcohol-related deaths are 520 percent higher among Native people than all races in the U.S., and death by suicide is 60 percent higher. Therefore, we believe it is crucial for counselor educators to gain a thorough understanding as to what Native people believe to be the proper treatment for these issues.”

Prosek adds that conducting phenomenological studies through a qualitative approach allows for the voices of the participants to be heard.

Giordano chose Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the study because of its large and diverse Native American population.

“There are 562 distinct Indian nations in the United States,” Giordano said. “It would be erroneous to group all Native people together without considering within-group differences. Therefore, our goal is to ascertain information from individuals from different tribes and Native cultural backgrounds.”

There are eight Native pueblos in northern New Mexico near Santa Fe: Nambe, Picuris, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Ohkay Owingeh, Tesuque, Santa Clara and Taos. The Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council Inc. (ENIPC Inc.) exists to provide tribal governors with a structure to collaborate and meet the needs of their communities, Giordano said.

“We feel that conducting interviews in northern New Mexico provides a unique opportunity to learn from individuals from many tribes,” she said.

Over the past five years, Giordano has dedicated time and effort to promote racial justice and to advocate for marginalized groups. Her initiative to combat oppression and to give voices to those in need led her to apply for the ACES grant and start this study.

“The idea of the grant project originated with Amanda,” Schmit said. “When she asked me to join the team, I felt honored and was excited to contribute my research knowledge to the magnitude of what this project represents — giving a voice to Native people.”


Pictured, left to right, Amanda Giordano, Elizabeth Prosek and Michael Schmit.

Barbara Pazey

Associate Professor, Teacher Education and Administration
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Matthews Hall 218-L

Cheryl Jennings

Visiting Professor, Teacher Education and Administration
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Matthews Hall 207-M

Elizabeth Murakami

Professor, Teacher Education and Administration, Mike Moses Chair in Educational Administration
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Matthews Hall 218-H

Dr. Elizabeth 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. Dr. 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.

COE faculty member helps organize donation of infant sleepers in wake of hurricanes

Hundreds of families affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will soon be able to rest easier, thanks to a donation of 1,000 Pepi-Pod infant sleep spaces donated by New Zealand-based non-profit organization Change for Our Children and coordinated by UNT College of Education faculty member Wendy Middlemiss.  

Change for our Children Limited, a small social innovation company based in Christchurch, said the Pepi-Pods ensure a safe place to sleep for a baby whatever the disruption to family circumstances.  

“Babies are a particularly vulnerable group in times of natural disaster,” said Change for Our Children director Stephanie Cowan. “Hurricane Harvey has tipped thousands of Texan infants into increased risk of sudden infant death by disrupting living and sleeping conditions for their families. It is harder for parents to provide safe sleeping conditions for their babies when fearful, dependent and displaced.”

Middlemiss, an associate professor of Educational Psychology, has done extensive research on infant sleep safety, in the U.S and in New Zealand. She is working with Michael Garrett, CEO of Texas-based Trusted World, to organize the collection and distribution of the sleepers to families in need. They will be stored and distributed by Harvey Relief Hub, a volunteer-run initiative in Houston.

Each pod will be supplied with a mattress, two bottom sheets and a letter of goodwill from the people of New Zealand to the parents of Texas. A team at Baby First Limited in Christchurch is busy sewing for the project.

“Many people across New Zealand participated in an outpouring of support for Christchurch parents following the 2011 earthquakes, when we initiated a similar response,” said Cowan. “This is a New Zealand response. Hearts melt when it comes to babies. To survive the floods but be lost to a sleep accident is a tragedy we can help prevent in Texas.”

For more information, contact Middlemiss at 724-977-3067 or


Above, a baby sleeps in a Pepi-Pod.