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News and Notes Fall 2021

Faculty, Staff, Student & Alumni Updates

News and Notes

Fall 2021


Heashot of Amy Bradshaw with AECT logo and text about her award

received the Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2021 Outstanding Publication - Book Chapter Award from the Culture, Learning, and Technology division, for her chapter “Reframing Interdisciplinarity Toward Equity and Inclusion.” Bradshaw, A.C. (2021). Reframing interdisciplinarity toward equity and inclusion, in B. Hokanson, M. Exter, A. Grincewicz, M. Schmidt, A.A. Tawfik (eds) Intersections Across Disciplines: Interdisciplinarity and Learning Design (pp. 197-208). New York: Springer.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR ERIN CASEY (INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP AND ACADEMIC CURRICULUM) was awarded the 2021 National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators Foundation Award for Research on Early Childhood Education: Established Career Research Award. Casey was selected for her meritorious leadership and professionalism in early childhood teacher education. She was honored at a reception during the annual meeting of NAECTE, held virtually on Nov. 17.

green book cover with a white feather and the name of the book

along with colleague Onowa McIvor, guest edited the special issue of the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education ConsortiumJournal focused on Indigenous Language Revitalization. Link here:

Chew (Chickasaw) and doctoral student Courtney Tennell (Cherokee) created College and Career Resources for Indigenous Students: A Quick Look Guide. This free PDF resource highlights education and career resources available to Indigenous students from the 39 Indigenous Nations in Oklahoma. Download the guide here or view online.

Chew and doctoral students Tennell and Melvin Calls Him recently presented their research about Indigenous language revitalization technologies at the international conference “Indigenous Resistance in the Digital Age: The Politics of Language, Media and Culture.” You can watch their presentation about relationality in online Indigenous language courses here:

Chew also co-authored two articles,” Chikashshaat asilhlhat holissochi [Chickasaws are asking and writing]: Enacting Indigenous protocols in academic research and writing” in Native American Indigenous Studies, and “Cultivating enduring and reciprocal relationships in academia: An Indigenous mentor-mentee model” in Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education.

PROFESSOR XUN GE (EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY) was named winner of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology Distinguished Development Award for 2021. This competitive award recognizes scholars who have made extraordinary contributions to the interdisciplinary fields of educational technology research and development. Ge was invited to present a paper, project or product related to the publication at the dedicated Educational Technology Research and Development session at the annual meeting, held Nov. 2-6 in Chicago and online.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR KELLY FEILLE (INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP AND ACADEMIC CURRICULUM) is taking part in a $425,000 National Science Foundation grant with the Department of Geology, OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences. The grant is to investigate causal links between volcanic activity and climate change. Feille’s role will be to work with the geology team and local earth science teachers to facilitate a long-term professional development project related to the science and supporting classroom teacher implementation of earth science teaching.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR BEN HEDDY (EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY) was voted president-elect of the Scholarly Consortium for Innovative Psychology in Education. Heddy will serve a three-year term as president-elect, president and past president. In addition, Heddy, JRCoE graduate John Chancey (Oklahoma State) and Ben Torsney (Temple University) received the Founders Award at the SCIPE Conference 2021 for the most creative and interactive session.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR MAEGHAN HENNESSEY (EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY) was one of eight selections for the inaugural Women in Measurement Research Fellows. She has been invited to present in a Presidential Session at American Educational Research Association conference in April 2022.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR KIRSTEN HEXTRUM (EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND POLICY STUDIES) was interviewed by CNN in June to discuss the unanimous Supreme Court decision in NCAA v Alston, saying that student-athletes could receive education-related payments in a case that could reshape college sports by allowing more money from a billion-dollar industry to go to the players.

She was also interviewed in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, discussing how the new Name, Image, Likeness rule has created an opportunity for entrepreneurial advancement that, for years, athletes were expressly prohibited from.

In October 2021, Hextrum published the editorial “Why some college sports are out of reach for students from low-income families” in The Conversation.


ASSISTANT PROFESSOR SHAMARI REID (EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND POLICY STUDIES) published “What does culturally relevant pedagogy have to offer with regard to teaching and learning during a time of physical distancing.” Journal for Multicultural Education, 15 (2), pp.129-137.

Reid was also awarded the William T. Grant Theories of Blackness, Indigeneity, and Racialization in Research Writing Fellowship directed by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR MIRELSIE VELÁZQUEZ (EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND POLICY STUDIES) published the piece “Teaching the good — and bad — of history empowers students to build just communities” in the Perspective section of The Washington Post on Oct. 1. “Learning this history promises a generation of strong thinkers, with skills for engaging one another and the historical literacy that can help build better communities,” Velázquez said. Click Here to Read


headshot of Kelli Alvarez wearing glasses

KELLI ALVAREZ (DOCTORAL STUDENT, EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND POLICY STUDIES) presented her paper “Perceptions of Education: A Close Examination of Necropolitics in Relation to the Films Lean on Me and Dangerous Minds” at the American Educational Studies Association conference in Portland, Oregon, on Nov. 7.

CHARLOTTE GORDON (B.S. Ed., 1976) was inducted into the Eastern Oklahoma State College Hall of Fame on Nov. 12. A member of the JRCoE Board of Advocates, Gordon currently serves as an elementary intern supervisor through the college, as well as a mentor for aspiring principals through the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

SYDNEY PADEN (B.S. Ed., 2017) was named the News9 T-Mobile Teacher of the Day on Nov. 11. Paden teaches third grade at Adams Elementary in Norman.

TIFFANY PELTIER (DOCTORAL STUDENT, INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP AND ACADEMIC CURRICULUM) earned the Society of Scientific Study of Reading Taylor and Francis Award. The SSSR Taylor & Francis Award is an award given to promising young investigators that can be used to cover registration fees for the conference and for related conference expenses, including travel to future conferences.

headshot of David Powell in a white shirt and bow tie

DAVID POWELL (B.S. Ed. 2013; M.Ed. 2016) is one of three science finalists in the state of Oklahoma for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Powell currently teaches college prep and AP chemistry at Norman High School. He has been a Teacher of the Year finalist for his school and is a three-time American Chemical Society Hach Grant Recipient. Powell is currently a doctoral student in the JRCoE science education program.

KRYSTA PYLANT (M.Ed. 2020) has been hired as assistant director of strategic communications at Penn State University. Pylant previously served as assistant director of sports information at Texas Wesleyan and was a production assistant at Oklahoma.

KRISTEN SHELTON (DOCTORAL STUDENT, INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP AND ACADEMIC CURRICULUM) co-authored “Introductory Biology Students’ Opinions on the Pivot to Crisis Distance Education in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic” in the September/October 2021 edition of Journal of College Science Teaching. Click Here to Read (PDF)

OLIVIA SPRUILL (B.S. Ed. 2016; M.Ed. 2019) was named Teacher of the Year at Truman Elementary in Norman. Spruill is a third-grade teacher.

Tonya Thomas wearing her cap and gown
Wendy Mitchell

TONYA THOMAS (DOCTORAL STUDENT, INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP AND ACADEMIC CURRICULUM) received a $25,000 Head Start doctoral dissertation grant through the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The title of the proposal is “Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices: Associations with Family Engagement and Child Outcomes in Early Head Start Classrooms.”


The proposed study will examine associations among culturally responsive practices and strategies implemented in classrooms, family engagement, and children’s social and emotional development within a large Head Start agency. This mixed methods study will examine data from Early Head Start , including 60 lead or assistant teachers and 120 parents or guardians of infants and toddlers in a small Midwestern city.

MURAT TURK (DOCTORAL STUDENT, EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY) and CEYHUN MÜFTÜOGLU (DOCTORAL STUDENT, EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY) and Xiaoya Li (formerly a visiting student at OU) are among the 13 members of the Association of Educational Communications and Technology Graduate Student Assembly who received the ”Presidential Special Service Award” at the AECT annual convention (Nov. 2-6, in Chicago and online), in recognition of their contribution to the success of the 2020 AECT virtual conference – the first virtual conference in the AECT history.

headshot of Laura Vaughn sitting in front of trees in an aqua sweater

LAURA VAUGHN (M.Ed. 2014) is one of three science finalists in the state of Oklahoma for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Vaughn has 22 years of experience and currently teaches seventh-grade science at Irving Middle School in Norman Public Schools. She has served on several committees, including the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Science Standards Writing Committee, Solar Schools Norman Committee, Sutton Urban Wilderness Advisory Committee and the Norman Arts Council Grant Review Committee. She was Teacher of the Year for her school in 2018, and an Improvement Fellow for the Oklahoma Excel Program.

Tulsa students and faculty standing in front of a screen

In June 2021, the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at OU-Tulsa welcomed the first Master of Childhood Well-Being cohort class. The Master of Arts in Childhood Well-Being program will provide students insight and training in the areas of education, health, family and community, and economic well-being of children. These skills will be valuable to a range of professions, including child and family advocates, education practitioners, policymakers, public officials and concerned citizens, and allow them to focus on the needs of children and families, particularly those who are vulnerable and at risk for poor outcomes.