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TPTE Position Statements graphic

TPTE Issues Position Statement Series

Central to the mission of the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education (TPTE) at the University of Tennessee is conducting and disseminating educational research designed to improve opportunities for educational equity and excellence for all.

Consistent with that mission, TPTE is issuing a series designed to inform the public on what research says about critical issues in education.

TPTE has begun its position statements series with statements on Climate Change, Diversity and School Choice.

TPTE Climate Change Position Statement, Fall 2018

TPTE Diversity Position Statement, Fall 2018

TPTE School Choice Position Statement, Fall 2018

2018 Art Education Interns with Certificates

TPTE’s Art Education Program Celebrates its 2018 Annual Art Education Intern Juried Art Exhibition

On November 16, the University of Tennessee’s Art Education Program held an opening reception for their Annual Art Education Intern Juried Art Exhibition at Ironwood Studios (119 Jennings Ave, Knoxville, TN 37917). This exhibit represented the culmination of their work in the course ARED 530: Production and Critical Pedagogy in Art. This course allowed students to explore critical concepts, such as visual culture, through art, and to continue their development as artist-teachers throughout their internship year. The exhibit will move to the University of Tennessee’s Cookie Aytes Elliott Gallery in the Jane and David Bailey Education Complex where it will be on display and open to the public Tuesday-Friday 9:00-4:00 pm throughout the month of December.


Attendees looking at art 2019 Art Ed ExhibitionThree students laughing 2019 Art Ed Exhibition

Three attendees with hats Art Ed Exhibition

Decolonizing Thanksgiving article screenshot

A useful resource for educators at Thanksgiving: a Decolonizing Thanksgiving toolkit, created in part by TPTE doctoral student Amber Rountree


Current TPTE doctoral student in Literacy, Amber Rountree, has contributed to the creation of a useful resource for educators just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit for Combatting Racism in Schoolspublished on November 11, 2018 in Medium by Lindsey Passenger Wieck, provides ideas and techniques on how to assist teachers, parents and students in critically thinking about the issues of racial representations and stereotypes of Native peoples and the romanticized myths surrounding Thanksgiving.

We are very proud of Amber for her contribution to this very important resource!

Lori Farley with awards photo

Congratulations to TPTE Alumna Lori Farley, named 2018 East Tennessee Teacher of the Year

The Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education (TPTE) congratulates alumna Lori A. Farley.  Farley was named the 2018 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, Grand Division winner for East Tennessee. Farley graduated in 2004 with her MS in Elementary Education and is a media specialist at North City Elementary School in Athens, Tennessee.

“I wanted to … express how grateful I am for the teacher prep program at UTK!  It certainly did set me on a great path and has helped lead me to being named East TN Teacher of the Year! The year-long internship was something that hardly any other teacher that began teaching around the same time as me had the opportunity to experience!  Plus, I had amazing teachers!  Dr. Wooten and Dr. Turner stick out in my mind as helping me see the importance of strong literacy instruction.  I remember Dr. Davis-Wiley’s spunk and enthusiasm in class, and Dr. Vaccaro was my UT Mentoring teacher as I interned at Lenoir City Elementary. I will forever appreciate the encouragement he provided. I have many other fond memories of the learning that occurred while in my educator prep courses! It is a wonderful program, and I’m very thankful I was a part of it!  I’m proud to represent as an alum from the TPTE program at UTK!” said Lori.

As a Teacher of the Year state finalist, Lori will serve on the Teacher Advisory Council for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons.

Sherry Bell, TPTE department head, said: “Honored to call Lori one of our alumnae, she is clearly a knowledgeable and dedicated teacher, characteristics we seek to promote in all our graduates. We are very proud of her well-deserved recognition, and of her contributions to teacher education and as an UT alumni.”

5th Annual Recognition Ceremony

The Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education (TPTE) located in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences held their 5th Annual Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, October 11, 2018 at the UT Visitor’s Center.  Faculty, staff and students were recognized for their outstanding work throughout the years.

Awards were presented for outstanding collaborators, community advocates, alumni, teaching, service and graduate student research. Recipients of these awards were:

Outstanding Collaborator:  Michael Brewer & Heather Casteel

Outstanding Community Advocate:  Mike Edwards, Jennifer Owen, Michael Robinson & Bob Woodrick

Outstanding Alumnus: Samuel Odom

Outstanding Collaborator: Jennifer Sobota

Outstanding Alumni: Cathy Stubbs

TPTE Teaching: Mari Beth Coleman

TPTE Service: Jo Ann Cady

TPTE Graduate Student Research: Karen Cheng, Rebecca Layton, & Emily Sherwood

Enjoy more information about the event in this Knoxville Focus article.


tpte recognition

Join Us for the 5th Annual TPTE Recognition Ceremony

The Council of the Theory and Practice in Teacher Education (TPTE) Department invite you to the 5th Annual TPTE Recognition Ceremony. The event will be held on October 11th at the UT Visitor’s Center located at 2712 Neyland Drive at 4 P.M. Attendees, awardees, and guests are invited to stay for a reception at 5 P.M.

Immediately following the reception at 6 P.M., the David T. Bailey Graduate School of Education invites you to join them for the Bailey Lecture Series as Sam Odom, UT alumnus presents,“Running with the Wolves in Special Education:Reflections on the Field and a Career.”

Bailey Graduate Series lecture series announcement

Aerospace Workshop Graduate receives National Aerospace award

Sherilyn Dawson has received the 2018 National Air Force Association Teacher of the Year 3rd place award. Ms. Dawson, who is a K-5 Computer and STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts & Math) Teacher at Concord Christian School in Knoxville, is a graduate of the 2017 Aviation Outreach and Education: Basic Aerospace Workshop for Teachers. This workshop, co-sponsored by the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences’ Theory and Practice in Teacher Education department and the Tennessee Wing Civil Air Patrol, is held annually at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Campus. The workshop is funded by a generous grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Office of Aeronautics. Congratulations Sherilyn on this prestigious recognition. To read the full article on Sherilyn Dawson’s accomplishments click here.

TPTE Faculty Members Contribute to Children’s Literature Reading Book

Children’s Literature in the Reading Program: Engaging Young Readers in the 21st Century (5th edition) was recently released with contributions by several TPTE faculty members.  Anne McGill-Franzen and Stergios Botzakis have contributed chapters.  Natalia Ward and Graduate Teaching Assistant, Katie Rowenee Thomas, are chapter co-authors, and Richard L. Allington, Professor Emeritus, wrote the forward. Deborah Wooten is one of the editors. This teacher resource addresses the “whats, whys, and how-tos” of incorporating outstanding children’s literature into the K-8 reading program.

Graduate School of Education doctoral candidate publishes article

Congratulations to Jason DeHart, a doctoral candidate in Literacy Studies, whose article “Strategies for a Safe Literacy Space for English Language Learners” was recently published in the April-June 2018 issue of Kappa Delta Pi Record. The article was inspired by Jason’s work with an English Language Learner (ELL) in two hybrid clinical reading education courses. In the article, Jason suggests a number of powerful strategies he tried with his student, such as using authentic and electronic texts, translating and cognates. Jason writes, “ELLs are not just casual visitors passing through our classrooms; they are our kids too, and they should be engaged and challenged in meaningful ways.”

TPTE professor recognized for “Outstanding Article of the Year 2017”

Dr. Nils Jaekel, Clinical Assistant professor in TPTE, and his research team from Germany have received the “Outstanding Article of the Year 2017” award from the highly-respected journal Language Learning. Jaekel’s article ‘From early starters to late finishers? A longitudinal study of early foreign language learning in school’ investigates the impact of an early onset of foreign language learning in elementary school and its effects on language proficiency in middle school grades 5 and 7. The article provides evidence that earlier onset foreign language instruction (i.e., starting in grade 1 versus grade 3) may not be better for the student. According to the journal’s editorial board, Jaekel’s article was chosen as most outstanding because of its potential to impact future research, educational policy and practice.

Dr. Jaekel will be presenting his findings as a plenary speaker on April 7, 2018 at the regional conference of the Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association at Oak Ridge High School.


Urban Education cohorts participate in family STEM event

Pre-service teachers in the Urban Education cohort, enrolled in ELED422, teamed with community partners from Pond Gap Elementary to give students and their families an opportunity to engage with STEM activities. The Family STEM Night, held March 22, 2018, aims to increase student interest and confidence in STEM fields. The evening events also support pre-service teachers at UT in learning to integrate state mathematics and science standards with STEM practices. The Pre-service teachers developed and facilitated hands-on STEM activities as part of this event.


Volunteachers hold fundraiser for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

On Friday, March 3th, VolsTeach students held a fundraiser on Pedestrian walkway to collect donations to support the students and families in the recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School incident in Parkland, FL.  They continued their donation drive on Tuesday in Greve Hall outside the VolsTeach material library.  The Volunteachers collected $200 in donations which have been sent to the Go Fund Me page to support those affected by this tragedy.  A special thank you to the Volunteachers board of officers for coordinating this fundraiser.

TPTE’s Vincent Price receives the People’s Choice Award

At the recent annual meeting of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools, Vincent Price, the winner of TPTE’s 3MT final competition last year, participated in the regional competition in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He won his initial heat on Saturday morning, allowing him to advance to the final competition on Saturday afternoon. At the final competition, Vincent received the People’s Choice award, decided by the entire audience. The competition at this level was fierce, but his clear, dynamic presentation made him the audience favorite, even though the judges gave the Grand Prize and Runner-up to competitors from the Auburn University and the University of Missouri. Congratulations to Vincent for a job well done!




International Society for the Social Studies annual conference

TPTE Social Science education faculty members Drs. Stewart Waters, Joshua Kenna, and Anthony Pellegrino, along with TPTE doctoral students Autumn Magliocca and Matthew Hensley presented research and practices to an audience of social studies practitioners, teacher candidates and teacher educators at the annual conference of the International Society for the Social Studies.  The conference, held February 22 – 23, 2018,  was held by the University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL.

UT Ranked as Top Institution for Teacher Preparation

The College of Education, Health and Human Sciences at UT received the highest possible rating for teacher preparation in the state, according to the newly released 2017 Teacher Preparation Report Card.

UT, the only tier-four public university and one of seven tier-four programs in the state, has recommended more than 1,000 graduates for teacher licensure in the past five years and more than 3,800 in the past 16 years.

“This accomplishment comes from our outstanding faculty, staff, supervisors, school partners, and mentoring teachers who collectively enhance educational expectations across the Bailey Graduate School of Education,” said David Cihak, interim associate dean of UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences and director of the school. “Our exceptional students and graduates perpetuate these expectations to ensure the highest academic outcomes and experiences for the students they teach.”

UT improved in all report card categories. Additional highlights include:

  • More candidates are seeking high-demand endorsements to meet state and local school teacher needs, including English as a Second Language, secondary science, special education, world languages, and secondary math.
  • First-year employment rates in public schools increased to 77.6 percent, and, of those, 95.9 percent were retained and teaching in Tennessee the following year.
  • Teacher graduates are making an impact with 96.5 percent of teachers rated as level 3 (at expectations) or above and an increase in teachers rated as level 4 or 5 (“above” or “significantly above”) on the 1–5 teacher effectiveness observation scale. Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System teacher effectiveness ratings/scores also improved with 65.7 percent of teachers receiving a level 3 or above and an increase in teachers who received a 4 or 5 level of effectiveness.

Our program is committed to graduate highly effective teachers who enhance, invigorate, and regenerate the Tennessee educational landscape,” said Cihak.

UT’s Bailey Graduate School of Education offers five-year programs of study leading to teacher licensure in elementary education, middle grades mathematics and science, secondary English, secondary social sciences, world languages, art education, English as a second language, and special education; undergraduate teacher licensure programs in STEM fields (VolsTeach) and early childhood education; and collaborative programs in music education, agricultural education, and information and media specialization.

All of the college’s professional licensure programs are approved by the Tennessee State Department of Education and nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

VolsTeach in the community

On February 15, 2018, VolsTeach students in Dr. Yolanda Kirkpatrick’s Project Based Instruction class volunteered at the STEM Family Engagement Night at Inskip Elementary School.

Students Will Kirkpatrick and Amyee Alexander showed attendees the art of Origami. Origami is the art of paper folding, which is often associated with Japanese culture.  Origami principles are now used in a wide variety of STEM applications – from the design of satellites, to heart stents, to self-assembling robots, and much more.

Over 100 families attended Inskip’s family STEM night.  For more information about upcoming STEM events, visit the Center for Enhancing Education in Mathematics and Sciences website.














Dr. Frances Harper accepted into the STaR Program

Frances Harper, Assistant Professor in STEM Education, has been accepted into the STaR Program for early career math educators by the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE). The induction program for early career mathematics eductors working at institutions of higher education was initiated through a grant from the National Science Foundation and serves as a mentoring program for it’s members.

Fairmount Elementary recognized by Tennessee Behavior Supports Project

At Fairmount Elementary in Bristol, TN, ‘DAB” stands for Demonstrate Awesome Behavior, the name of the school’s behavioral intervention program.  The program is designed to help students change negative behaviors to stay in the classroom to keep on pace with learning and avoid in-school suspensions.

In 2016, Fairmount Elementary teachers began working with the Tennessee Behavior Support Project (TBSP) at the University of Tennessee to create a program for their school.  Before the program started, the school had 77 students in suspension over the course of the year.  By the end of 2016, that number was down to 61, and in 2017 the number dropped to 19.  Fairmount has been recognized as a Model of Demonstration School for successfully implementing evidence-based behavioral interventions.

The TBSP provides training, materials, and tools to support administrators, teachers and staff in implementing the RT12-B program at no cost to the school. Dr. Tara Moore, an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the Theory and Practice in Teacher Education department, serves as the Primary Investigator for the TBSP University of Tennessee Knoxville project.


Carpenters Elementary School recognized by the Tennessee Behavior Supports Project

The Tennessee Behavior Supports Project (TBSP) at the University of Tennessee recently recognized Carpenters Elementary School (CES), Blount County, for its excellence in implementing the Response to Instruction and Intervention – Behavior (RTI2-B) based programming with the support of the TBSP team.

Principal Katrina Gravitte has seen it work at Carpenters Elementary School, where behavior and office referrals are down this school year. CES has been working on Tier I of the Response to Instruction and Intervention – Behavior framework, setting school wide expectations, modeling behavior and responding to both appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

The Tennessee Behavior Supports Project is an extension of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.  TBSP works with East Tennessee public schools and school districts to develop, implement and sustain a continuum of positive behavioral interventions and supports.  TBSP is funded by the Tennessee Department of Education.  Dr. Tara Moore, Assistant Professor of Special Education in the Theory and Practice in Teacher Education, serves as the Primary Investigator for the TBSP-University of Tennessee, Knoxville project.



Sunny Poe, Knoxville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2017

Sunny Poe, Principal of Hardin Valley Elementary School, was honored on January 18, 2018 as a member of the Knoxville’s Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2017. When Sunny became principal at Hardin Valley Elementary in 2015, she prioritized strengthening relationships between students, faculty, parents and community members.  She created a School and Community Connection Team, a student council, and the Kids Hope mentoring program in partnership with a local church. She also serves on the Knox County Schools’ Principal Institute Committee and the Principal Advisory Council. Sunny earned her initial teaching license and master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Tennessee in 2003.

Cultural Competency Training Contract Approved by Knox County Schools

The College of Education, Health and Human Sciences realizes the disproportions occurring in academic achievement and discipline in Knox County Schools.  This realization is a necessary step to eliminating systemic challenges in the achievement gap and implicit bias which occurs.

Two of our faculty, Chonika Coleman-King and Jud Laughter of the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education, are well aware of these issues. In response, they have developed a multi-year plan to address the various categories of diversity, implicit bias, identity, culturally relevant pedagogy and family engagement. This plan will breach up to five years to assist with sustainability efforts.  The commitment and proximity of these faculty will allow for collaboration with local administrators to assess and hone their services over the course of the project to ensure the plans effectiveness.  The first stage will include a series of workshops for all Knox County employees.  During the second stage, Cultural Competence Learning Committees will be formed to develop Sustainability Plans and will include a schedule of support for these employees as they work with their schools in planning professional development opportunities.

On Monday, December 11th, the University of Tennessee’s contract for Cultural Competency training was approved and passed unanimously.  Training will begin in 2018.


Camille Mason presents her work at the Tennessee Reading Association Conference

Camille Mason, a senior Art major with an Elementary Education minor,  presented her work at the Tennessee Reading Association conference in Murfreesboro, TN on December 10th. The presentation was focused on promoting literacy through interdisciplinary text sets. Camille shared how she successfully integrated various texts about oceans with an emergent bilingual student. Camille was accompanied to the conference by her Reading Education professors Dr. Anne McGill-Franzen and Dr. Natalia Ward.

Mehmet Aydeniz

The State of STEM Education and Future Directions in STEM Education for Turkey: An Economical Perspective

Dr. Mehmet Aydeniz was featured on the highest circulated newspaper Hurriyet and several other media outlets in Turkey for his technical report, “The State of STEM education and Future Directions in STEM Education for Turkey: An Economical Perspective” dated November 21, 2017. The news highlighted the 10 major reform recommendations suggested by Dr. Aydeniz.

The report first takes a critical perspective on global economic developments by highlighting recent trends in several sectors, ranging from Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, cybersecurity, to green technologies. The report further discusses the importance of equipping the next generation of citizens with such skills as problem solving, design thinking, leadership, creativity and entrepreneurship demanded by these emerging economy and for solving grand challenges of global society such as clean energy, environmental pollution, biodiversity, poverty and human health.

After providing an extensive review of current trends in 21st century economy through economic and labor indicators, Dr. Aydeniz problematizes the state of Turkish STEM education by analyzing performance of Turkish students on the international and national exams such as Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) and YGS (a university entrance selection exam in Turkey). He further explores and discusses the causes of Turkish students’ under performance in STEM on the national and international performance tests. Most notable he finds that students’ reading skills, quality of instruction, access to early childhood education and access to resources after school play important role in Turkish students’ under performance on the national and international science and mathematics tests.

In the final chapter of the report,  Dr. Aydeniz makes recommendations ranging from reforming STEM curriculum, investing in teacher quality, providing differentiated and enriched instruction to the gifted students and addressing the achievement gap between different student groups.  The 140-page report was forwarded by Nobel Laureate Professor Aziz Sancar of UNC Chapel Hill.

Dr. Aydeniz is an associate professor of Science Education in Theory and Practice in Teacher Education in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Tennessee Art Education Association’s Higher Education Student Achievement Award

Heather Eades is recipient of the Tennessee Art Education Association’s Higher Education Student Achievement Award.

Heather is pursuing a Master of Science in Teacher Education (Art Education concentration).  As a graduate student, Heather has excelled in her studies, demonstrated excellence in her coursework, and shown a strong commitment to the field of art education.  She contributes meaningfully to class discussions and activities, and goes above and beyond in assignments.  As part of a summer graduate course, she developed and implemented curricula for students at Inskip Elementary School, a Knoxville city school that partners with UT.  During this experience, Heather demonstrated a passion for working with students. The art curriculum she designed was innovative, as it encouraged students to develop empathy with the natural world.

She is vice-president of the University of Tennessee’s student chapter of the National Art Education Association.

Heather is completing her student internship at West Valley Middle School in Knoxville, TN.

Congratulations Heather on receiving this prestigious award!

Tennessee Art Education Association’s First Year Art Educator of the Year

Ericka Ryba is the recipient of the 2017 Tennessee Art Education Association’s First Year Art Educator of the Year Award.

Ericka  graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Master of Science in Teacher Education (Art Education concentration) in 2016.

Erica is a first year art educator at Coulter Grove Intermediate School in Maryville, TN.  Ericka demonstrates a strong passion for teaching and practicing art. In her classroom, Ericka utilizes choice-based curriculum to promote student agency and purposeful meaning-making in her  students’ art.  Additionally, she arranged the first ever Coulter Grove ArtFest, featuring student artwork and student-led craft stations. One of her student’s designed a t-shirt that was awarded the top selection to be used for the Dogwoods Art Festival T-Shirt.

Ericka has been active in promoting visual art and art education in the community.  She teaches community art classes at Mighty Mud, a ceramics studio in Maryville and at the Knoxville Fine Arts and Craft Center.  This year, she served as a juror for the Rhythm & Blooms Guitar Design Contest, was a donor for the Artitude Art Auction, participated in the Cattywampus Puppet Council Parade, and was an installation volunteer for the Tennessee Valley Fair Student Art Competition and Dogwood Arts Student Art competition.

Congratulations Ericka on this prestigious award!


Art Education Intern Exhibit

Art Education Intern Exhibit and Reception

 The 2017 -18 Art Education interns held a reception for their Annual Art Exhibition on Thursday, November 30, 2017. Their work will continue to be on display at the Cookie Aytes Elliott Art Education Gallery, 105 Jane and David Bailey Education Complex, 1126 Volunteer Blvd, Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am-4:00 pm through February 1, 2018.  




“Young People’s Engagement with Literature: What Does it Look Like?


  • What? Drs. Groenke and Botzakis presented “Young People’s Engagement with Literature: What Does it Look Like?


  • When? University of Tennessee MicNite on November 15, 2017


  • Where? Relix Theater, Central Avenue, Knoxville


  • Why? MicNite is a twice-annual evening for faculty and staff, based on the Japanese concept, Pecha-Kucha. Pecha-Kucha is a simple lecture in which presenters show and discuss 20 images for 20 seconds each.
Joshua Kenna

Dr. Joshua Kenna Awarded an Improving Teacher Quality Grant from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission

Who: Dr. Joshua Kenna (PI) & Dr. Derek Alderman (co-PI from Geography Department)

What: Awarded an Improving Teacher Quality Grant from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (a federally funded program) titled, “Leveraging Disciplined Inquiry to Support Reading, Writing, and Thinking in History and Geography.”

When & Where: A total of 20 high school social studies teachers from Anderson, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Roane, and Union school districts will have an opportunity to participate in a professional development workshop funded by the grant. The workshop will take place at the East Tennessee Historical Society during the summer of 2018.

Why: The goal is to improve teachers’ history and geography content knowledge and help them integrate critical thinking skills and key social studies practices into their instruction, such as analyzing primary/secondary sources, constructing and communicating arguments, and citing evidence from sources.


2017 Teacher Education Division of Council of Exceptional Children Annual Conference

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TPTE Faculty and Alumni Participate in the 2017 Teacher Education Division of Council of Exceptional Children Annual Conference in Savannah, GA

  • Who?  TPTE faculty, alumnae and colleagues MariBeth Coleman, associate professor and Tara Moore, assistant professor, both in Special Education; Anthony Pellegrino, assistant professor in Social Science Education with George Mason colleague Peggy Weiss; Sherry Mee Bell, professor of Special Education and department head with current doctoral student, Jamie Smith and recent PhD graduate and UT Office of Information Technology staff Eric Moore; Melissa Martin, recent PhD graduate in her second year as assistant professor of State University of New York, Plattsburgh
  • What? Faculty and current and former students and colleague presented on such topics as co-teaching, assistive technology, universal design for learning, and reading assessment.
  • When?  November 7-10, 2017
  • Where?  Savannah, Georgia, Marriott Riverfront
  • Why?  Faculty and student participated in the 40th annual TED/CEC conference to share their research and to learn about a range of practices and policies affixing K-12 special education and preparation of special education teachers.

Fourth Annual TPTE Recognition Ceremony

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On October 10, 2017, the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education (TPTE) at the University of Tennessee held its fourth annual Recognition Ceremony in downtown Knoxville. The Recognition Ceremony was held in conjunction with the David T. Bailey Graduate School of Education’s Billie Grace Goodrich Lecture by Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. We honored two outstanding alumni, Ellen Watson James (year of graduation) and Melissa McKown (year of graduation); three outstanding collaborators, Shannon Jackson (Knox County Schools) and Melissa Massie (Knox County Schools); and three outstanding community advocates for education, Katie Cyphers, Dr. Gene Overholt and Mrs. Lyn Overholt. TPTE recognized two outstanding faculty: Dr. Lynn Hodge (Collaboration with the Field Award) and Dr. Stewart Waters (Scholarship Award) and one outstanding doctoral student, Robin Schell (Literacy Studies/English as a Second Language).

STEM Family Night


Dr. Lynn Hodge, Dr. Ashley Walther, Michael Lawson, Shande King, and Bearden Middle School staff and students.


Family Night in the Community! Featuring food for the families, family math and literacy games from UTK, and the Bearden Middle School Step Team.


October 26, 2017 5:30-7:30


Community Center in Mechanicsville, Knoxville, TN


The purpose of this event was to build bridges through food, fun, fellowship, and servanthood with the families who can’t always attend school-based events by meeting them in their community. CEEMS and TPTE faculty and graduate students supported this event to provide resources and activities about STEM and literacy related topics for students and families.

2017 B.O.S.S. for Educators (Big Orange STEM Saturday)

What: 2017 B.O.S.S. for Educators (Big Orange STEM Saturday)

When: October 7, 2017

Where: Hodges Library


Sponsored By: UTK Libraries, The Center for Enhancing Education in Mathematics and Sciences (CEEMS), The East Tennessee STEM Hub, and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN)

Team Members: Thura Mack (chair), Ingrid Ruffin (co-chair), Michelle Brannen, Alexa Carter, Kristina Clement, Dr. Lynn Hodge, Val Hodge, Ann Ramsey, Megan Venable, & Dr. Ashley Walther



Keynote Speaker: Dr. Christopher Lavan, Director of Experience Learning, University of TN (Topic: The Power of Experiential Learning for Today’s Students)

Breakout Sessions & Titles:

  • Dr. Clara Lee Brown, English Learns & STEM: STEM for All? Where Should We Begin?
  • Gale Stanley & Michael Lawson, Exploring Resources for K-12 Teachers to Engage Students in STEM Learning
  • Ask a Scientist, Communicating Science: Do’s and Don’ts
  • Patricia Stinger-Barnes, Creating Access to Scientific Inquiry: Everyday Ideas and Materials
  • Dr. Jeff Beard & Dr. Blanche O’Bannon, Using Mobile Technology in the Classroom

Participants: 33 educators from the East TN region (teachers, administrators, librarians) attended the conference. 14 districts were represented from the following areas: Anderson County, Blount County, Campbell County, Claiborne County, Jefferson County, Knox County, Lenoir City, Loudon County, Monroe County, Oak Ridge City, Polk County, Roane County, Sevier County, and Union County.


Why: Big Orange STEM Saturday for educators (EduBOSS) is a free professional development opportunity for education professionals in East Tennessee. Educators from across the region gathered to learn and discuss STEM education. This year’s theme: STEM4ALL: Equity & Access for K-12 STEM Education.

East Tennessee STEM Hub Regional Meeting & Open House


On Friday, October 20, the East TN STEM Hub hosted its first regional meeting and open house since management passed to The Center for Enhancing Education in Mathematics and Sciences (CEEMS) at the University of Tennessee. The Hub is a regional partnership and collaborative effort designed to promote and support high quality STEM education in the East Tennessee region. The regional meeting and open house served as a networking and introductory meeting. Fourteen STEM-focused organizations were represented as exhibitors during the event. Teachers, administrators, and higher education faculty attended the event. Special exhibits included: STEM & Literacy and STEM Education Resources. Additionally, attendees had the opportunity to discuss STEM professional development and community needs, and the ways in which STEM intersects their organization.

Anthony Pellegrino

Funding Secured By Dr. Anthony Pellegrino for TPTE Social Science Ed Program

  • Who? The Social Science Education faculty of TPTE have secured funding for a UTK/Knox County Schools partnership project from the Teaching with Primary Sources Program of the U.S. Library of Congress.
  • What? The purpose of the project is to better prepare our teacher candidates for their internships through a combination of clinically-rich pre-internship coursework and mentor/intern professional development training to support methods for teaching with primary sources.
  • When? Planning for the project begins in fall 2017. The first pre-internship methods course will         begin in spring 2018, and professional development for mentors and interns will begin in summer 2018.
  • Where? The clinical experiences and professional development will take place with Knox County middle and high school social studies teachers.
  • Why? The purpose of the project is twofold. First, our candidates will gain clinical experience and deeper understanding of teaching practices through the pre-internship methods course. Second, our school-based mentors and interns will have the opportunity to work together prior to internship to build relationships and discuss high leverage practices for social studies prior to the beginning of the internship year. We hope that doing so will help mentors see the vision of our Social Science Education program and be better positioned to support our candidates in their internships.

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