Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

Friday, December 14, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm
UNT Coliseum

School leaders talk about public education, democracy at UNT Educational Leadership Conference

Former Texas Commissioner of Education Dr. Mike Moses had a message for the educators, administrators and leaders during the 2018 Educational Leadership Conference at the University of North Texas.

“What you do matters,” Mosses said.

Moses presented the opening remarks at the annual event hosted by the UNT College of Education’s Department of Teacher Education and Administration. The event was scheduled for the day after the Nov. 6 midterm general election to focus on the intersection of politics and education.

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. The Mike Moses Chair in Educational Leadership in the College of Education is named after him. College of Education professor Dr. Elizabeth Murakami, endowed Mike Moses Chair in Educational Leadership, headed the conference which gathered more than 100 people to discuss the need to support public education in Texas.

Moses noted that following the midterm election results, the conference was a good time to consider the importance of education in the state and nation.

“Previous generations, going back to the Founding Fathers, had thought that education is what makes us great,” Moses said.

When polled about which they would rather the U.S. have — the greatest military in the world, the greatest economy in the world or the greatest educational system in the world — previous generations consistently said the greatest educational system in the world because, with the best education, the nation would also have the best military and the best economy. But Moses noted that today’s educators face challenges in a society where 70 percent of the population does not have school-age children and vote making important decisions about the future of education.

“The biggest question we face in Texas and the nation is will the older generation pay to educate the younger generation — will an older, aging Anglo population pay to education a younger minority population,” Moses said.

Moses noted that the average age for Hispanics in Texas is 27 while the average age for Anglos is 41. He also said that the fastest growing populations in the state were those 55 and older and those 18 and younger.

Dr. Kevin Brown, the executive director of the Texas Association of School Administrators and former superintendent of the Alamos Heights Independent School District, also spoke on public education and “the promise of democracy.”

“I owe everything in my life to public education,” Brown said. “People have forgotten why we have public education. The why matters.”

Brown said that democracy was built on the idea of public education for every child, even when when it didn’t always happen that way. He also cited Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams and their commitments to public education.

“If you look at the history of America … in every one of these communities, one of the first things they did was build a school, and they were so invested in public education that they were willing to house teachers in their homes,” Brown said.

Dr. Phil Gore, division director for leadership services at the Texas Association of School Boards also highlighted the importance of “connecting each individual with the largest purpose of preparing children for the future of the country.”

Dr. Jamie Wilson, superintendent of the Denton Independent School District; Gayle Stinson, superintendent of the Lake Dallas Independent School District; and David Belding, superintendent of the Aubrey Independent School District, talked about challenges small- and mid-size districts  face when not supported by their communities. In an effort to strengthening support for districts, the superintendents have created the North Texas Education Leadership Collaborative.

Moses said when he was education commissioner he would often disagree with then Gov. George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, about the role of educators.

“Teachers and educators weren’t immigration enforcement. We educated the people who are here,” Moses. “If you want to be firm about immigration; if you want to be firm about entitlements, you have to be firm about education. You have to be firm about how people succeed in this country.”

Moses said a question he sometimes asks of groups is do they like the free market? Do they like democracy? Do they like equal opportunity for everyone? Do they like citizen rule?

“Well, if you like those things, who is going to continue those values 50 years from now?” Moses said.

He went on to note that today, 67 percent of school-aged children in Texas are from minority populations and 43 percent are Hispanic.

“That’s who is going to ensure we have those things you like in 50 years,” Moses said. “This (democratic) experiment does not endure if we do not teach the children the values we believe in.”

Moses said the older generation has an obligation to educate the younger generation and called the taxes people pay an investment in the future. But he also said educators have to do more to inform people and to help others see it as an investment.

“If we’re going to bridge the gap between education and politics, we have to keep our eye on the ball. What we do matters. What you do matters,” Moses said.

Dee Ray elected to National Play Therapy Board

Dee Ray, a professor in the College of Education’s counseling program and the director of the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas, recently started a three-year term on the board of directors for the Association for Play Therapy.

A licensed professional counselor-supervisor and registered play therapist-supervisor, Ray was elected by association members last June.

“Dr. Ray is an experienced academic, practitioner and established APT leader,” said association CEO Kathy Lebby.

Ray has published more than 100 articles, chapters and books examining the effectiveness and process of child centered play therapy.

Play therapy is an approach favored by many licensed mental health professionals in the U.S. and 25 other nations to therapeutically use play to help clients to better describe and resolve their problems. It is particularly effective with children because, just as adults use words to communicate ideas and feelings, children use play.

APT is a national professional society that provides research, training, and credentialing programs to assist those professionals. Additional information is available at www.a4pt.org.

UNT associate professor shares SIDS risk factors, offers safe infant sleep practices

As a new mom, University of North Texas educational psychology associate professor Wendy Middlemiss was dissatisfied with information on safe infant sleep. She made infant sleep research a priority and dedicated years of study to best practices for parents when it comes to bedtime for babies.

Each year, the CDC estimates there are 3,500 sleep-related deaths among babies in the U.S. October is National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month, that shines a light on the unexplained death of children under 1. Middlemiss, who has researched the impact of health messaging related to safe infant sleep, says there’s room for improvement when it comes to SIDS awareness.

“In regard to SIDS in the U.S. and globally, safe sleep campaigns and SIDS-related policies and advice are very often not effective,” Middlemiss said. “We have lots of documentation that what we’re doing works for some and doesn’t work for many. There are a lot of disparities.”

Middlemiss said instead of merely telling parents what they shouldn’t do, communications should explain what is a risk factor and equip parents with the knowledge of what the child needs to keep them healthy and reduce the risk of SIDS. She collaborated with other researchers across the globe in developing an educational video on safe infant sleep practices, that will soon be distributed in official health messaging campaigns.

So, what are some SIDS risk factors? Here’s what Middlemiss said: 

Many parents do not put their babies on their back because they’re afraid the infant will spit-up in the night and choke. But, having babies sleep on their backs is an important protection against SIDS. When an infant is placed on its back, the baby’s windpipe is kept open and straight posing less risk of choking.

One very significant risk is to have blankets or soft toys in a baby’s sleep space. In a research study we did on perceptions of infant sleep spaces, parents didn’t recognize these objects as risk factors. Babies can get tangled in blankets and toys or they can put them over their faces hindering their ability to breathe.

If a baby is overheated, then their risk of a weakened arousal response increases. A weakened arousal response means a baby is less likely to wake up and change their position to increase their oxygen intake. If the arousal signal isn’t strong enough to wake the baby up, then their risk of SIDS increases.

23rd Annual Higher Education Law Conference

Monday, March 25, 2019 (All day) to Tuesday, March 26, 2019 (All day)

As the premier conference on higher education law in Texas, the Texas Higher Education Law Conference provides college and university professional in the public and private sector, and attorneys who advise them the most current information on important developments in such areas as student legal issues, first amendment rights, technology dangers, FERPA and free speech areas to name a few.

See the conference website for more details.

2018 Educational Leadership Conference

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 8:30am to 4:30pm
UNT Gateway Center

Educational Leadership at a Crossroads: Politics and Education

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 7, 2018 8:30am - 4:30pm
Gateway Center
University of North Texas

Denton, TX

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

University and External Audits

Friday, April 26, 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Matthews Hall 209

Presentation will cover the basics of what to expect in a university audit and in an external sponsored projects audit. We will discuss how to maintain files in audit worthy shape, what to do when an audit notification is received, including what not to do. Session will end with time for Q&A.

Register at https://unt.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3rPHl8pwws0LAl7

Designing Mixed Method Evaluation Plans

Friday, March 8, 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Matthews Hall 209

Discover how optimal results might be realized with mixed method evaluations, combining  quantitative and qualitative techniques. Foundational concepts for developing a mixed method evaluation for grant proposals will be addressed.

Register at https://unt.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_d1od1Ec5macCNnf

Dream a Little Dream- Going for “YES” in Your Grant Budget Proposal

Friday, February 8, 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Matthews Hall 209

Workshop will focus on creating a budget for your proposal with UNT’s budget builder, taking your research to scale, utilizing the maximum funds available and allowable from the sponsor.

Register at https://unt.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9NYfl0GyNHO5P4p

Logic Models and Grant Writing

Friday, January 25, 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Matthews Hall 209

A well-developed logic model will ensure agencies clearly understand the inputs, outcomes and evaluation of the proposed project thereby increasing the likelihood of being funded. Learn how to develop an effective tool which clearly articulate to funders how their investments will be used.

Register at https://unt.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_39jpAxSFelTwx1z