College of Education faculty, alumni establish new K-12 summer program

February 1, 2016 Leave a comment

To sponsor a child, click here or contact

A hundred local children will have access to learning programs aimed at curbing summer learning loss and closing achievement gaps, thanks to a collaborative effort of faculty and alumni at Florida State University and Florida A&M University this summer.

The group will help provide an opportunity for children in Leon and Gadsden counties to participate in quality summer enrichment programs.

North Florida Freedom Schools (NFFS), a new nonprofit co-sponsored by Florida State University and Florida A&M University, has been selected by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) to operate two CDF Freedom School six-week summer program sites from June 13 to July 22.

The organization was created in 2015 as a result of NFFS Co-Executive Directors Kristal Moore Clemons and Keely Norris’ past experiences working with the CDF Freedom School program. Norris is an FSU alumna and special education teacher, and Clemons is an assistant professor and director of the College of Education’s online Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership and Policy.

“The goal is to empower K-12 students in low socioeconomic status communities to make a difference through civic action projects, while also staving off summer reading loss using a culturally responsive reading curriculum,” said Alysia Roehrig, NFFS research director and associate professor of educational psychology at Florida State.

Students who participate in the camps will have the chance to take part in diverse afternoon activities supported by organizations in the community, such as the Institute for Research in Music and Entertainment Industry Studies at FAMU, Florida State University’s Center for Sport, Health and Equitable Development, TITUS Sports Academy and the REAL Life Student Program. The students will receive free summer learning opportunities and free meals.

The summer camp teachers, who will be undergraduate students or recent graduates, will have the opportunity to learn about critical teaching techniques.

They also will have mentoring opportunities to learn about the strengths of diverse students and gain experience in conducting research in education.

Faculty will conduct studies with camp participants and their parents to assess their needs and improve the program.

Florida State Associate Professor Joshua I. Newman and Assistant Professors George L. Boggs and Graig M. Chow, along with FSU alumnae Tricia James and Sheila LaBissiere are part of the project team.

Several Florida A&M faculty members also are involved: Associate Professor Peggy Auman, who is also an FSU alumna; Kawachi Clemons, associate professor; Patricia Green-Powell, professor and associate dean, also an FSU alumna; Serena Roberts, director of the Center for Academic Success; and Phyllis Y. Watson, director of the Division of Continuing Education.

To apply for the paid summer internship as a servant leader, visit Applications are due Feb. 18.

To sponsor a child or provide financial support to fund stipends for student leaders, click here or contact Donations made to the FSU Foundation can also be designated to North Florida Freedom Schools.

Four College of Education graduate students nominated for 2015-16 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

January 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Four graduate students from the FSU College of Education have been nominated for a 2015-16 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award:

Sponsored by the Graduate School, the Office of Research, and the Program for Instructional Excellence, these awards recognize outstanding graduate student teaching assistants (TAs) for their distinguished contributions to student learning through excellence in instruction.

Recipients and their departments will be recognized at the Celebration of Graduate Student Excellence, on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 3:30pm at the Alumni Center.

College of Education faculty take part in White House Convening on Community College Research

January 22, 2016 Leave a comment
White House Convening edit

Drs. Tandberg, Hu, and Park

On Wednesday, January 20th, three faculty members in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies attended the Education Scholars Convening on Community College Research at the White House: Dr. Shouping Hu, professor of higher education; Dr. Toby Park, assistant professor of economics of education and education policy; and Dr. David Tandberg, associate professor of higher education.

The meeting, which discussed research on strengthening community colleges and expanding college opportunities for students, included remarks from senior officials from the White House Domestic Policy Council, White House Council of Economic Advisers, and the U.S. Department of Education.

“There are strong desires to utilize research evidence to inform policy making at the federal level, in the direction of removing financial barriers for student access and success in postsecondary education, particularly in community colleges.” Hu said.

Drs. Hu, Park, and Tandberg are well known for their research with community colleges. In addition to serving as faculty in the FSU College of Education, Hu is founder and director of the Center for Postsecondary Success (CPS) at Florida State University, with Park and Tandberg serving as associate directors.

For more information on specific projects and research being conducted by CPS, visit

Higher Education doctoral student awarded Martin Luther King, Jr. Book Stipend

January 20, 2016 Leave a comment
Sophia Rahming

Sophia Rahming

Sophia Rahming, a doctoral student in the Higher Education program, was one of six Florida State University students who received the 2015-2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Book Stipend Award. She was presented this award at “An Evening with Jelani Cobb” as part of FSU MLK Week.

The purpose of the MLK Book Stipend Award is to assist FSU students in completing their education. This competitive scholarship award is a collaboration between the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Black Alumni Association. A total of six awards were issued in the amount of $300 each: three awards from the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and three awards from the FSU Black Alumni Association.

In addition, Rahming was a 2014-2015 recipient of the Legacy Fellowship, one of FSU’s highest honors for a graduate student. She was also the recipient of the Liliana Muhlan Masoner Memorial Scholarship Award and the Dr. Marion Neil Endowed Scholarship Award at Florida State. She is a member of the Graduate Assistants Union at FSU and serves as a graduate research assistant in the Center for Postsecondary Success.

Rahming has been an educator for 24 years serving in many capacities in private and public educational institutions in her country, The Bahamas. These posts include special education instructor, district professional development presenter, school principal and project director for the 21st Century Classroom Project. She also served as a resource person, and conference presenter for the National Commission on Special Education (2005) in the Bahamas. Rahming earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Social Sciences at the College of St. Benedict, and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a diploma in Specialized Learning for Diverse Learners from the University of St. Thomas.

FSU online programs continue to rise in national rankings

January 12, 2016 Leave a comment


CONTACT: Amy Farnum-Patronis, University Communications
(850) 645-1294;

Jan. 12, 2016


E-learning concept - keyboard with education button

The College of Education continues to rank among the best in the nation at No. 3.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State University’s online programs are among the best in the nation — including three graduate programs ranked in the Top 10 — according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 Best Online Programs.

“FSU’s high rankings in a variety of disciplines are a testament to the dedication of our faculty and administration in providing students the resources they need to attain an outstanding online education,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Sally McRorie. “This recognition demonstrates the strides Florida State is making toward higher national prominence.”

Florida State’s online graduate programs in business (non-MBA) jumped 22 spots to No. 4 in the latest rankings, while the university’s graduate programs in education (No. 3) and criminal justice (No. 5) held steady in the Top 10.

“The advances Florida State has made in the rankings reflect the continuing commitment of the university in providing programs and curriculum that ensure students receive a quality online education,” said Susann Rudasill, director of the Office of Distance Learning. “Contributing to this online experience are our exceptional faculty and strong student engagement, two key criteria used in the rankings.”

The College of Education’s online graduate program continues to rank among the best in the nation at No. 3. The college offers degrees in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership/administration, instructional systems and learning technologies, learning and cognition, and special education studies.

“The College of Education was one of the earliest colleges to offer graduate programs online,” said Marcy Driscoll, dean of the College of Education. “Evaluation studies have consistently affirmed the excellence of our programs, so it wasn’t a surprise that when U.S. News & World Report started rating online programs we would be ranked in the Top 10 nationally. This ranking reflects the quality of our programs and the dedication of our faculty to provide students with an outstanding educational experience.”

The College of Business’s online graduate program (non-MBA) moved into the Top 10 this year to No. 4, up from No. 26 last year. Students can pursue Master of Science degrees in management information systems and risk management and insurance. The college’s online MBA program also shot up to No. 44 from its previous ranking of No. 62.

“As an early leader in offering master’s degrees online, we’re committed to continually improving our programs so we can serve students more effectively and efficiently,” said Michael D. Hartline, interim dean of the College of Business. “We’re proud that our online courses are taught by full-time faculty — all experts in their field — who work hard to provide students with the support structure they need to succeed. It’s great to see that these new rankings reflect our efforts.”

The College of Criminology and Criminal Justice’s online graduate program jumped two spots to No. 5. The college offers a master’s degree in criminal justice studies, combining a first-rate faculty with the flexibility of the distance-learning environment.

“We are pleased that our college’s online graduate program is recognized as among the very best in the country,” said Thomas Blomberg, dean of the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. “Our online and campus graduate programs are taught by the No. 1-ranked faculty in the country for research productivity over the past 10 years. As a result, students completing our programs are receiving the highest quality educational instruction to propel their career trajectories.”

The College of Communication and Information’s online graduate program in information technology was ranked No. 21 in the category of computer information technology. The Master of Science degree is offered by the college’s School of Information.

“This program prepares students for leadership in an area of strategic emphasis, as identified by the Florida Board of Governors,” said Kathleen Burnett, director of the School of Information. “Graduates acquire a solid foundation in the technical skills and management expertise to pursue professional positions in large-scale data management, technology and network management, user-centered design and web design and administration. This degree program is a relatively new addition to the rich offerings of the School of Information.”

The College of Nursing’s online graduate program made considerable strides, reaching No. 54 from its previous position of No. 87.

“We are delighted with the U.S. News & World Report ranking for our online master of science in nursing program,” said Judith McFetridge-Durdle, dean of the College of Nursing. “This ranking is up significantly from last year and speaks to the efforts of our faculty to continuously improve our program offerings. This ranking will raise the national profile of the College of Nursing and allow us to continue to attract excellent students.”

The online bachelor’s programs took the greatest leap in the rankings, reaching No. 34, up from No. 161 last year. Online undergraduate degree programs include computer science, criminology, social science, and public safety and security.

The methodology for assessing online programs included factors such as student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, peer reputation and admissions selectivity.

For a complete list of the U.S. News & World Report online graduate rankings,


Education professor featured in 2016 National Education Technology Plan

December 21, 2015 1 comment


CONTACT: Jennie Kroeger, FSU College of Education
(850) 644-6798;

December 2015


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A professor in the Florida State University College of Education is featured in the recently released 2016 U.S. Department of Education National Education Technology Plan, the nation’s flagship educational technology policy document.

Valerie Shute, the Mack and Effie Campbell Tyner Endowed Professor of Education in the Educational Psychology and Learning Systems department at Florida State, studies the impact of video games on learning with a focus on building a greater understanding of the future of embedded assessment.

“I’m honored to have my research showcased,” Shute said. “In addition to describing my ideas about using assessment to support learning via real-time feedback and within game environments, a section is devoted to my stealth or ‘embedded’ assessment work.”

The 2016 National Education Technology Plan highlights examples of organizations using technology to transform learning that were drawn from expert interviews, stakeholder focus groups and recommendations from education leaders across the country.

Shute’s work with embedded assessment was recognized for exhibiting some of the actions and attributes key to transforming learning through technology. From her research, Shute developed Physics Playground, which masks physics lessons within a video game while also tracking a student’s learning progress.

The 2016 National Education Technology Plan, “Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education,” articulates a vision of equity, active use and collaborative leadership to make everywhere, all-the-time learning possible. While acknowledging the continuing need to provide greater equity of access to technology itself, the plan goes further to call upon all involved in American education to ensure equity of access to transformational learning experiences enabled by technology.

“Technology has the potential to bring remarkable new possibilities to teaching and learning by providing teachers with opportunities to share best practices and offer parents platforms for engaging more deeply and immediately in their children’s learning,” said Arne Duncan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. “It can change the experiences of students in the most challenging circumstances by helping educators to personalize the learning experience based on students’ needs and interests — meeting our students where they are and challenging them to reach even higher.

“This year’s update to the NETP includes a strong focus on equity because every student deserves an equal chance to engage in educational experiences powered by technology that can support and accelerate learning,” Duncan said.

To read more about Shute in the 2016 National Education Technology Plan, visit


COE alumna named Leon County Teacher of the Year

December 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Julie Arasi, a three-time FSU College of Education alumna, was named the 2015-2016 Leon County Schools Teacher of the Year.

Arasi, a third-grade teacher at Kate Sullivan Elementary School, has been teaching for eight years. She initially began at the school as a physical education teacher before transitioning to a classroom position. “I found my dream job at Kate Sullivan,” said Arasi.  “This is all I want to do — connect with students and watch them learn.”

This semester, Arasi graduated from the FSU College of Education with a master’s degree in Educational Leadership/Administration. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education in 2007 and a master’s degree in Physical Education the following year.

Arasi has brought the COE’s “student focused, innovation driven” concept into her own classroom at Kate Sullivan. She was noted in the Tallahassee Democrat for fostering student engagement in learning through educational initiatives inside and outside the classroom when she launched “Genius Hour,” a program that facilitates students’ participation in research-based projects. “Genius Hour” gives students opportunities to interact with local experts in specific fields, such as science or public speaking. She is also behind a new initiative called I-LEAD, which bolsters students’ involvement with their own education.

For more information on Julie Arasi and the LCS Teacher of the Year finalists, view the article by the Tallahassee Democrat.


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