Two FSU College of Education Faculty Members Honored for Transformative Influence in Student Lives

December 2, 2016 Leave a comment

Two FSU College of Education faculty members, Robert Schwartz and Deborah Ebener, were among those honored by the Transformation Through Teaching program for their transformative influence in the lives of their students inside and outside of the classroom.

The Transformation Through Teaching program is an initiative established by FSU’s Spiritual Life Project, which seeks to foster integrative relationships that provide support for students in their lifelong search for meaning and self-realization.

The Transformation Through Teaching awards recognize faculty members whose contributions in the lives of their students go beyond conventional academic instruction. Honorees are nominated by their students for their dedication to helping students find their authentic selves and pursue their dreams.

The awards were conferred Nov. 28 during a ceremony at the President’s house.

“The faculty here tonight are not only teachers and researchers, they are mentors, role models and cheerleaders,” President John Thrasher said. “They offer advice and encouragement, and they push their students to reach higher.”


Dr. Deborah Ebener and Kara Dingess

Deborah Ebener, associate professor and coordinator of counselor education, was nominated by Kara Dingess for her abiding support during a time of hospitalization.

“All the FSU faculty members that I have had contact with have all be truly wonderful. My experience with Dr. Ebener is different in that she went out of her way to check on me every day, as well as letting all of the other faculty members know what was going on. Knowing that I had her on my side, allowed me to relax and concentrate on getting myself better.” — Kara Dingess


Dr. Robert Schwartz and Sally Watkins

Robert Schwartz, professor of higher education and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, was selected by Sally Watkins for providing guidance during the difficult process of composing a doctoral dissertation.

“Deciding on a dissertation topic, for me, was a challenging process. As an individual often distracted by “shiny things”, I regularly waffled on the subject and directions. Dr. Schwartz embraced my approach and engaged me in conversation to clarify and refine my topic as well as reflect on my plans following graduation.” — Sally Watkins

For more information and the full list of faculty members who were honored, visit

Categories: College of Education

FSU Opens Doors for Education Hackathon

November 23, 2016 Leave a comment


The Florida State University College of Education invites innovators and entrepreneurs to hack some of education’s biggest challenges at its first ever education hackathon, “HackEd: Brainstorming Solutions to Issues in Education.”

HackED will take place at 8 a.m, Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Tucker Civic Center.

HackEd is a unique, daylong competition designed for students and professionals who share a passion and commitment to improving public education with innovative solutions. It is modeled after a hackathon, where computer programmers collaborate on solutions to software and programming issues.

“We are dedicated to innovation and shaping the future of education,” said Marcy Driscoll, dean of the FSU College of Education. “HackED is a great example of how we as a college can engage with diverse minds and explore solutions to education’s biggest challenges with a fresh perspective in order to create a stronger public school system.”

HackEd teams, consisting of no more than three people, will identify challenges, propose answers and work on solutions designed to transform public education. Each team will then present their solution to a panel of judges. Winners will receive prizes and have the opportunity to discuss their ideas with community leaders.

The topic to be addressed will be announced the morning of the event. Teams will have nine hours to develop and eventually present a prototype or presentation of their solution to a panel of judges. Subject matter experts in education, administration and social entrepreneurship will be available during the entire process to assist the teams.

Students and professionals in education, IT, business, public policy and other areas are encouraged to participate. The event is free, but everyone is required to register due to a limited number of spots. Breakfast and lunch will be provided at the event. To register your team or to learn more, visit

Categories: College of Education

Four Volunteers from the FSU College of Education Took on Leadership Roles at Annual Math Fun Day

November 14, 2016 Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2016-11-14 at 4.09.28 PM.pngOn Saturday, October 8, the Florida State University Department of Mathematics hosted its annual Math Fun Day and four volunteers from the FSU College of Education’s School of Teacher Education took on leadership roles at the event by presenting hands-on workshops.

Each year, the Department of Mathematics hosts Math Fun Day. Faculty, staff, and student volunteers from across campus engage with the community to demonstrate that “MATH is FUN,” and to celebrate the importance, ubiquity, beauty and fun of mathematics.

This year, Math Fun Day included presentations, exhibits, and activities for the public and was staffed by more than 60 volunteers from the Department of Mathematics, Meteorology Department, Department of Computer Science, Department of Biological Science, and the School of Teacher Education. More than 800 people participated in this year’s event, and it was the most successful Math Fun Day to date. 

The FSU College of Education’s School of Teacher Education volunteers included:

  • Dr. Christine Andrews-Larson, assistant professor of Mathematics Education, who presented a hands-on workshop on modeling
  • Dr. Ian Whitacre, assistant professor of Elementary Mathematics Education, who taught a workshop on common core math
  • Chian Can, an FSU COE Graduate student, who gave a hands-on workshop on trigonometry
  • Sebnem Atabas, an FSU COE Graduate student, who led a modeling workshop

At the end of the day, the consensus was that Math Fun Day made a positive impact on the Tallahassee community and helped to instill a love of math in many of the children and families who attended.

“My daughter started participating in Mini-Mu competitions. She was excited because she is getting questions correct and she says it is because she attended Math Fun Day last year! We had to come back this year.”

“Thank you so much for this event! My son has been seriously struggling in math over the last two years… As a result, he has developed a negative idea of math. Needless to say, he was not happy about coming today. By the end of the day, however, he used words like ‘cool!’ ‘awesome!’ and ‘amazing!’ and he began leading ME around to the sessions! He seemed excited about math again. This was time well spent! Thanks so much again!”

For more information about the FSU Department of Mathematics’ Math Fun Day, visit

Categories: College of Education

FSU College of Education Alumnus Receives Single Highest Honor Given by the FSU Alumni Association

October 24, 2016 Leave a comment

On Oct. 15, the FSU Alumni Association held its annual Homecoming Awards Breakfast recognizing the accomplishments of notable alumni and faculty who have secured their place in Florida State University history by pushing boundaries and redefining standards within their respective fields.

FSUCOE alumnus William “Bill” Proctor (B.S. ’56, M.S. ’64, Ph.D. ’68) received the single highest honor given by the FSU Alumni Association, the Bernard F. Sliger Award!

Named for the 11th president of the Florida State University, the Bernard F. Sliger Award is the single highest honor given by the FSU Alumni Association. This award recognizes a member of the university community who has made a major contribution toward the fulfillment of the mission of Florida State University.

A former FSU football player under Coach Tom Nugent, Dr. Proctor turned down an offer to play for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL, instead becoming a high school football coach in Longwood, Florida. He returned to FSU to obtain his advanced degrees during which he also served as dean of men and as an assistant football coach under Bill Peterson.

In 1971, with a doctorate in educational leadership, he became president of Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida — a position that he would hold for 30 years. Today, the library at Flagler bears his name and he continues to serve the institution as chancellor.

In 2004, Dr. Proctor was elected to the Florida House of Representatives where he served for eight years on several important committees including Education Appropriations. He was inducted into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988 alongside his wife, Pam Proctor (B.S. ‘56), in recognition of their contributions in the form of two endowed football scholarships.

In 2007, Proctor took on one more assignment for his alma mater, generously serving as FSU’s interim director of athletics.

Learn more about Dr. Proctor and watch his acceptance speech here.

View photos from the Alumni Association’s Homecoming Awards Breakfast here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 10.12.29 AM.png

William “Bill” Proctor (B.S. ’56, M.S. ’64, Ph.D. ’68) accepts the Florida State University Alumni Association’s Bernard F. Sliger Award

Categories: College of Education

FSU College of Education Honors Distinguished Alumni

October 10, 2016 Leave a comment

The Florida State University College of Education proudly announces the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award winners.

Established more than 25 years ago, the College of Education Distinguished Alumni Awards provide an avenue of honoring graduates of the college who have distinguished themselves through scholarly, creative and humanitarian achievement and service to their profession.

Each year, recipients are nominated by their peers and selected by the College of Education alumni council. This year’s award winners are:

Government and Community Service: David Wiles (B.S. ’64), professor emeritus, SUNY- Albany

Business and Industry: Lindy Benton (B.S. ’77, M.S. ’78), president and CEO, Vyne healthcare

International: Frank Lester, Emeritus Chancellor’s Professor of mathematics education and cognitive science, Indiana University

K-12 Education: Lisa Williams (Ed.S. ’05), music education teacher, Department of Defense Education Activity

Postsecondary (University): Bill Law (M.S. ’74, Ph.D. ’77), president, St. Petersburg College

Distinguished Educator: Imogene Mixson (Ph.D. ’72), former interim president, Wallace Community College-Dothan


Distinguished Alumni Award winners with Dean Marcy Driscoll (left to right) Lisa Williams, Imogene Mixon, Lindy Benton, Frank Lester, Bill Law, Marilyn McCall Wiles on behalf of David Wiles

The College of Education dean and administrative leadership members, department chairs, faculty, family and friends honored these six individuals at an awards ceremony and dinner held Friday, Sept. 30 during College of Education Week.

To learn more about the College of Education’s Distinguished Alumni, visit

Categories: College of Education

Sport Psychology alum to serve as sport psychologist for USA Track & Field

July 15, 2016 Leave a comment

July 15, 2016

Chris Stanley

Chris Stanley

Chris Stanley — a researcher at Florida State University’s Florida Center for Reading Research — is set to serve as one of two sport psychologists for the USA Track and Field team at the U20 World Junior Championships from July 19 to July 24 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Stanley, who earned his MS in Sport Psychology at FSU in ’04, also serves as an adjunct faculty member for FSU’s sport psychology program. He is thrilled to be a part of USATF’s medical support staff for one of the world’s most important competitions in the sport of track and field.

“These are young athletes — older adolescents and emerging adults,” Stanley said. “This is a significant milestone for them and there are a lot of psychosocial aspects that need to be monitored. The sport psychologists are there to help them be aware of these things and the challenges that may arise and impact their performance, positively or negatively.”

Read more… 


Researchers Assess Florida Developmental Education Reform

July 6, 2016 Leave a comment

July 6, 2016 

shouping hu

Dr. Shouping Hu

Two years after state-mandated developmental education reform to the Florida College System, Florida State University researchers say there are both positive and negative student outcomes as a result of the changes. 

The findings were a part of a research report released by FSU’s Center for Postsecondary Success assessing the effects of a 2013 state law that allows some Florida high school graduates to avoid college placement exams and opt out of remedial education courses — no matter their academic ability or preparation for college. The research was funded in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The researchers analyzed student data for the cohorts of first-time-in-college students from 2009-2010 to 2014-2015. 

“The early evidence of our research indicates some worrisome signs while also offering a cautiously optimistic outlook,” said Shouping Hu, the project lead and a professor in the FSU College of Education. “It is worrisome that a higher percentage of students did not pass the courses they took, but it is also encouraging to see that the overall share of students passing gateway courses increased after the reform, and the gaps along the line of race/ethnicity actually narrowed as well.” 

Once developmental education courses became optional in 2013, enrollment in those courses declined across all subject areas for students of all racial/ethnic backgrounds, with the largest decline for black students, followed by Hispanic and then white students. Following the reform, the passing rates for developmental courses decreased slightly, after taking into account of student background characteristics and prior academic preparation. 

The researchers then looked at student success in first-level college courses, also known as gateway courses, both for students taking the courses as well as for the student cohort as a whole each year. 

The findings from the report included: 

  • Enrollment in gateway courses increased substantially for all students in both English and mathematics, and the rates of increase were higher for black and Hispanic students than white students.
  • The likelihood of passing gateway English and mathematics declined for students enrolled in those courses. The declines were similar for all students, with the exception that black students experienced bigger decline in likelihood of passing gateway English. 
  • Because of increased enrollment in gateway courses, the overall number of students successfully passing a gateway course in the first semester has increased, and the cohort-based gateway course passing rates increased in 2014, compared to previous cohorts. 
  • All students had gains in the cohort-based gateway course passing rates in 2014 compared to previous years, and Hispanic and black students showed even larger gains on that measure. Thus, the overall achievement gap between traditionally underrepresented minority students and white students in gateway courses is narrowing in Florida. 

The report also suggests taking developmental courses could help academically unprepared students increase their eventual chance of success in gateway courses. 

“The findings as a whole from our early analyses suggest that it is still important to advise students who are severely academically underprepared to take developmental courses instead of taking gateway courses without any developmental education support,” said Toby Park, an assistant professor in the FSU College of Education. 

Taking remedial courses and gateway courses during the same semester was particularly beneficial, according to Park. 

The Center for Postsecondary Success research team received a five-year research grant in the amount of $3.3 million from the Institute of Education Sciences to continue to assess the impacts of the redesign on student longer-term outcomes such as degree completion, while also examining institutional programs and practices that may help students succeed in college. 

In addition to Hu and Park, the center’s research team for the report includes Florida State faculty members David Tandberg, and Tamara Bertrand Jones; postdoctoral research fellow Chenoa Woods; and graduate research assistant Keith Richard. 

The full report is available at

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