Grant to help UNT provide support for families dealing with autism

Thanks to a $489,000 grant, the University of North TexasKristin Farmer Autism Center (KFAC) will continue to provide support to families across the state who have a child with autism spectrum disorder.

The grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Autism Grant Program will enable the center and the Texas Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters to continue its partnership for the next two years.

“The new grant will allow UNT’s KFAC and the Texas HIPPY collaborative program to reach even more families around the State of Texas, especially in areas where autism support services are challenging to find,” said Kevin Callahan, executive director at KFAC. “The A+HIPPY curriculum will ensure that all the children enrolled in the program are better prepared to maximize their success in public schools.”

The collaboration, which is currently serving 82 families around the state, is aimed at children 3 to 5 years old and their parents and can serve up to 100 families. The Kristin Farmer Autism Center is providing training to Texas HIPPY staff, who then conduct weekly home visiting services.

The program aims to improve the family’s knowledge of autism spectrum disorder, teach basic skills associated with evidence-based autism interventions, increase key developmental and school readiness skills and reduce parental stress.

To find out where the programs are available, visit

Interested in a College of Education Undergraduate major?

The College of Education (COE) Student Advising Office offers two types of group sessions for those interested in learning more about our majors:

1) Prospective Advising Sessions

These sessions are for those considering enrolling at UNT as College of Education majors*. >> Find more information or register for a Prospective Student Advising Session.

2) Major Changer Group Appointment Sessions

These sessions are for students who are:

  • Currently enrolled at UNT but not a COE major
  • Previously enrolled at UNT but not a COE major
  • Current Interdisciplinary Studies majors considering a switch to another COE major
  • Current Human Development and Family Science; Kinesiology; Health Promotion; Public Health; or Recreation, Event, and Sport Management majors considering a switch to the Interdisciplinary Studies major
  • Incoming freshman or transfer students who have attended orientation with another College*

Students can schedule one of these group appointments through the Advising Appointment Manager.

* Please note that incoming COE freshman and COE transfer students who have already chosen COE majors are required to attend orientation sessions conducted by COE Academic Advisors. These sessions will address most questions, however, any student may set up an individual appointment with an advisor after attending COE orientation by calling the COE Student Advising Office at 940-565-2736.

UNT offers local teachers summer science institute

The Univesity of North Texas recently gave three local teachers the opportunity to go back to school.

Syed Hussain Rizvi, far left, and doctoral candidate Kayode Oluwabunmi, center, both from the Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering, give teachers participating in the Summer Science Institute ─ Mary Batalla, second from left, Jesus Sanchez Ontiveros, third from left, and Ladys Contreras, far right ─ a tour of the facilities in the College of Engineering at Discovery Park. 

The university hosted the teachers last month during the Summer Science Institute with the aim of helping them develop lesson plans in English and Spanish.

“The goal of the Summer Institute is for teachers to inspire their Hispanic students to engage more in the field of science especially given the shortage of Hispanic scientists in the U.S.,” said Ana Figueras, a graduate assistant in the Office of Bilingual/ESL Teacher Education in the UNT College of Education’s Department of Teacher Education and Administration.

This is the second year of the three-year interdisciplinary project funded by the National Science Foundation. In the final year next summer, the teachers who participated the first two years will be invited to spend a week on campus with some of their English learners for a summer science academy, said Rossana Boyd, a co-principal investigator of the project.

This year’s teachers, Ladys Contreras and Jesus Sanchez Ontiveros from Fort Worth ISD and Mary Batalla from Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, learned about new research in the area of C-Lignin from doctoral fellows from  the BioDiscovery Institute in the College of Science and from the Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering in the College of Engineering.

“The Science Teachers’ Summer Institute provides the participating teachers a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about current research that is helping to shape our world,” said Richard Dixon, director of the BioDiscovery Institute and distinguished research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

“This enables them to better engage with their students about how science impacts people’s lives, and to develop lesson plans that open the students’ eyes to possibilities beyond simply learning the science curriculum,” he said. “Conversely, the experience of working with top class teachers has provided my postdocs and graduate students valuable lessons in the importance of communicating their science to the next generation.”

Teacher Education and Administration Update: Summer 2017

Educational Psychology Update: Summer 2017

Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation Update: Summer 2017

Counseling and Higher Education Update: Summer 2017

Message from the dean and college news roundup - Summer2017

At the end of July, my time as interim dean will come to an end and our new dean, Randy Bomer, joins us from the University of Texas in Austin. It has been such a phenomenol year, and I am honored to have served UNT's College of Education as interim dean. I will return to the position of associate dean for academic affairs and research. I look forward to working with incoming Dean Bomer and the rest of the administrative team, and I'm excited to see what he has in store for us! In my final column, I want to highlight some great work that has been going on in the college over the last few months.

Many of you may know Hope Garcia, a longtime UNT Student Affairs professional and a 2015 graduate of our Higher Education doctoral program. I’m very happy to announce that Hope, now director of Student Services at UNT’s New College at Frisco, has been elected to the Texas Association for College and University Student Personnel Administrators (TACUSPA) Board of Directors. She will be working with education professionals from across the state to support students and institutions.

We’re also very proud of Teacher Education and Administration professor Dina Castro, who has been elected to the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Dr. Castro will be working with NAEYC’s more than 300 regional chapters. Congratulations!

And finally I’d like to make one final appeal to those of you who worked or studied with my predecesser, Dr. Jerry Thomas. When Dean Thomas retired, we started a scholarship in his honor. That fund has almost reached endowment level, which is when we’ll be able to start awarding it to deserving students. Your gifts, no matter what size, make an enormous difference. As an added bonus, alumna and Development Board chair Cathy Bryce and her husband, fellow alum Jack Atkins, have committed to matching every gift through Aug. 31, 2017, up to a total of $7,000!

If you would like to make a gift to Dean Thomas’ scholarship, visit For more information, you can always give us a call at 940-369-7805.

Alumni Spotlight: Erin Pack-Jordan

How did UNT’s College of Education prepare you for your career?
UNT prepared me quite well for my career in and out of the classroom. As a first-generation college student, I was anxious about the future and how to proceed with my education. The wonderful professors and advisors in both the College of Education (and the College of Arts and Sciences, where I earned my bachelor’s degree) guided me. In my current job, I write, research and edit state history textbooks. In this capacity, I make materials both accurate and appealing for teachers and students. Being a teacher helped me be successful in this job. Currently, I’m working on curriculum and textbook materials for middle school Washington and Georgia state histories.

What was the most valuable thing you learned while you were here?
What I enjoyed the most about the education program at UNT was the practical aspects. It really prepared me for how classrooms function. I felt like I was “ahead of the curve” as far as preparation for teaching.

What made you choose UNT?
As I mentioned before, I was a first-generation college student from a small town. My brother went to and graduated from UNT in 2005, the year I graduated high school. Although I got into other colleges, UNT felt both comfortable yet exciting. It was also affordable. I’m so glad I did because it opened up so many doors for me.

When did you know you wanted to teach?
In college, I was heavily involved with judging high school speech and debate competitions. I began subbing for several of those coaches and enjoyed my experiences with that. I also worked as a supplemental instructor for the UNT Learning Center. It just seemed like a natural fit. I taught high school social studies and English classes, and coached speech and debate until the opportunity to work for a textbook company appeared.

Anything else you’d like to add?
An education degree does not limit you to the classroom! Education is all around us, so if you have an opportunity outside of teaching don’t be afraid to take it! When the opportunity for my current job presented itself, I immediately took it even though I had originally planned to continue teaching.


Erin Pack-Jordan (’08, ’11 M.Ed.) is currently employed as associate editor for history education at Gibbs Smith Publishing.

UNT lecture to shed light on raising athletes

Parents contemplating how to take their child from Little League to the big leagues won’t want to miss the University of North Texas’s July 13 (Thursday) open house and lecture titled “How to Raise an Athlete Successfully.”

The lecture will feature Yannis Pitsiladis, a member of the International Olympic Committee Medical and Scientific Commission and scientific director of the International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS). It will be followed by a Q&A focusing on Pitsiladis’ work as director of the Sub2Hour Marathon Project.

The open house, organized by the UNT Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation, will begin at 5 p.m. at UNT New College in Frisco. Pitsiladis’ lecture will begin at 6:30.

Pitsiladis is the founding member of the Sub2 Marathon project, the first international research initiative bringing together scientists, athletes and industry partners to promote elite marathon performance. The group aims to break the two-hour marathon barrier – helping an athlete finish a marathon in less than two hours – using a dedicated scientific approach.

The open house will showcase UNT KHPR’s research and degree programs and UNT’s collaborations with professional sports organizations worldwide, including the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Griffins rugby team. The event is the culmination of a site visit from FIMS, which Pitsiladis is helping to conduct. The site visit is the final step before UNT’s Applied Physiology Lab is designated the first Collaborating Center of Sports Medicine in North America, part of FIMS’ global network.

Both the open house and lecture are free and open to the public, and no preregistration is required. For more information, call 972-668-8118 or email