Nine faculty and staff members of Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education (RCOE), along with the Creativity Collaborative faculty, were recently honored with 2022 RCOE awards.
- Sherry Blevins ’04: Outstanding Adjunct or Instructor/Clinical Faculty Award
- Robin Groce: Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award
- Chris Osmond: Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award
- Ashley J. Carpenter: Inclusive Excellence Award
- Andrea Anderson ’94 ’10 ’20: Outstanding Leadership Award
- Tracy W. Smith ’95: Outstanding Mentoring Award
- Sonja Ardoin: Outstanding Scholarship/Creative Achievement Award
- Leslie Bradbury: Outstanding Service Award
- Danielle Hahn: Outstanding Staff Award
- Creativity Collaborative: Community of Practice Award
RCOE faculty, staff, and students were invited to submit nominations in ten categories: Outstanding Adjunct or Instructor/Clinical Faculty, Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, Outstanding Graduate Teaching, Inclusive Excellence, Outstanding Leadership, Outstanding Mentoring, Outstanding Scholarship/Creative Achievement, Outstanding Service, Outstanding Staff, and Community of Practice.
Nominated individuals or groups were then asked to provide supporting portfolios, which were reviewed by the RCOE Awards Committee. Recipients were announced at the RCOE Faculty/Staff Closing Meeting on Thursday, April 28.
Committee co-chairs, Dr. Debra Prykanowski, assistant professor in the RCOE’s Department of Reading Education and Special Education, and Rebekah Saylors, RCOE’s director of marketing, communications, and engagement, expressed thanks to all who nominated a colleague or submitted a portfolio.
“The faculty and staff of the RCOE continue to make an impact on education through their innovative and inclusive work in and out of the classroom, and we are honored to recognize them,” said Saylors.
“We would also like to acknowledge and congratulate all the nominees for their outstanding contributions to the college,” she added.
Prykanowski also thanked committee members for their time and service on the committee: Lynn Church, Staff Representative; Mary Ferrell, Adjunct/Lecturer Representative; Dr. Dominique Hammonds, Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling; Dr. Aleica Jackson, Department of Leadership and Educational Studies; Dr. Greg McClure, Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Dr. Dan Poling, Department of Reading Education and Special Education; Dr. Patrick O’Shea, Department of Leadership and Educational Studies; Dr. Christina Rosen, Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling; and Dr. Pamela Shue, Department of Family and Child Studies.
2022 RCOE Awards Recipients
2022 Outstanding Adjunct or Instructor/Clinical Faculty Award
Blevins (she/her/hers) is a university supervisor of student teachers, a music educator, conductor/clinician, and more recently, a published lyricist and composer. She is passionate about her work as a supervisor of student teachers.
“This work has to be more than a job,” she noted. “Student teachers need to be held to high standards for the sake of our educational system, but they also deserve compassion, support, and a safe space to struggle and then try again with the needed support.”
Her students are appreciative of her dedication, noting the extensive feedback, resources, and support she gives.
“This award means that I've made a positive difference in the world,” said Blevins. “There is nothing better!”
Blevins also shared that her success isn’t hers alone: “I wouldn’t be able to do what I do were it not for the leadership and support I received from so many in RCOE and the Hayes School of Music.”
Blevins lives in Huntersville, North Carolina, with her biggest support and hero, her wife, Ruth. Blevins’ hope is that whether through teaching or composing, the knowledge she instills and the music she shares will bring hope, life, and light to others.
Blevins earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her master’s degree in music education from Appalachian State University.
Dr. Robin Groce
2022 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award
Groce began her professional teaching career in 1991 as a fifth-grade teacher in Garland, Texas, and for the past 31 years, she has enjoyed introducing students to high-quality children's literature through the reading/writing workshop.
Groce, who is an associate professor in the Department of Reading Education and Special Education, is honored to be recognized for the teaching award.
Groce earned her B.S., M.Ed., and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. She joined the RCOE faculty in 2004.
Her other interests include spending time with her family, exploring the outdoors, observing wildlife, riding her bike, painting and chasing her two little dogs.
Dr. Chris Osmond
2022 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award
Osmond, a professor in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies and the associate director of the Doctoral Program, joined the RCOE faculty in 2010.
He earned a Ph.D. in culture, curriculum and change from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.A. in curriculum studies and teacher education from Stanford University, and a B.A. in English and Spanish from Wesleyan University.
He teaches social foundations of education at both the undergraduate and doctoral levels, as well as courses in the Honors College. In addition, he has served on numerous doctoral dissertation committees.
For Osmond, this award means his work is “connecting.”
“Education is not about awards, but it is so gratifying to learn your work is making a difference,” he noted. “It means my work is connecting; it affirms I am in my place doing what I am made to do!”
Dr. Ashley Carpenter
2022 Inclusive Excellence Award
Carpenter is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies. As an interdisciplinary scholar/practitioner working towards advancing equity and accessibility through K-12 and higher education pipeline programs, her scholarly investments are in multicultural student development, institutional research, college access and equity, and diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, her mission is to pursue innovative, evidence-based practices to broaden participation and success in postsecondary education.
“I strive to embed inclusive excellence within my teaching, community engagement, and research—and I am honored to have that work highlighted,” said Carpenter. “As a scholar-activist, this Inclusive Excellence award demonstrates how this work is dynamic, transformational, and necessary to create spaces that honor and respect difference.”
“As a new faculty member, I am happy to be alongside various community members looking to implement change through action and initiatives,” she added. “I am grateful to be alongside excellent faculty, students, and staff who advocate for social justice in and out of the classroom.”
Carpenter joined the RCOE faculty in 2020. She earned her Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, M.A. in American culture studies from Washington University, St. Louis, and B.A. in psychology and sociology from the University of Missouri at Columbia.
Dr. Andrea Anderson
2022 Outstanding Leadership Award
Anderson is the director of the Lucy Brock Child Development Laboratory Program and adjunct instructor in the Department of Family and Child Studies. She is a three-time graduate of App State, earning a B.S. in child development, M.A. in child development, birth-kindergarten, and Ed.D. in educational leadership.
“It is gratifying to be acknowledged by my peers who see the work that happens at Lucy Brock,” said Anderson.
She added, “For us at Lucy Brock, one's success means that we all have been successful! Teamwork makes it all happen!”
Anderson has been the director at Lucy Brock for eleven years.
“When I began in the position, we were serving 300 college students and 30 children,” she recounted. “Now we are serving almost 600 students and 100 children and families per year. I am excited to see how we will continue to be a leader in the field!”
Lucy Brock is a laboratory program operated by the Department of Family and Child Studies and serves as a model and professional preparation site for individuals working with young children. In addition to its on-campus location, its impact on education extends into Watauga County through three collaborative classrooms with Watauga County Schools in Blowing Rock, Cove Creek, and Parkway.
Dr. Tracy Smith
2022 Outstanding Mentoring Award
Smith, a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, joined the RCOE faculty in 2000. She also serves as the Faculty Fellow for Mentoring Initiatives for the college. For her fellowship, Smith designed a developmental community model of mentorship. In addition, in 2021, she founded the RCOE Mentoring Guild, a shared craft model of faculty support. Mentorship permeates Smith’s teaching, research, and service.
“While I have now mentored many different people and groups – young adolescents, undergraduate and graduate students, public school teachers, and academic faculty, I must acknowledge that mentoring is reciprocal,” noted Smith. “Those who would call me mentor, I must acknowledge as co-mentors because always, I am the chief learner in these relationships.”
“I am grateful for my students, colleagues, administrators, friends, and family who have cared for and mentored me, who've walked alongside me and allowed me to walk alongside them,” she continued. “Those connections have energized and sustained my life and career.”
Smith earned her Ph.D. in curriculum and teaching at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, her master’s in curriculum specialist at Appalachian State University, and her bachelor’s in education at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. In 2017, she was awarded the UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award.
Her research interests include mentoring and educational development in higher education, middle level education, and teacher preparation. She has had articles published in journals such as the To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development, Journal of Teacher Education, and Middle School Journal.
Dr. Sonja Ardoin
2022 Outstanding Scholarship/Creative Achievement Award
Ardoin, an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling and program director of the student affairs administration graduate program, is a learner, educator, facilitator, and author. Proud of her rural hometown of Vidrine, Louisiana, her working-class, Cajun roots, and her first-generation college student to Ph.D. journey, she holds degrees from Louisiana State University, Florida State University, and North Carolina State University.
Ardoin considers herself a scholar-practitioner of higher education, serving as an administrator for ten years before shifting to the faculty in 2015. She joined the RCOE faculty in 2018.
Ardoin studies social class identity, college access and success for rural and first-generation college students, student and women’s leadership, and career preparation and pathways in higher education and student affairs. She stays engaged in the broader field through ACPA, AFLV, ASHE, the Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA, and several journal editorial boards. Learn more about her work at www.sonjaardoin.com.
Ardoin is honored to be recognized for her research and scholarship and acknowledges that it is a collaborative effort.
“Thanks to my colleague and friend Dr. Stacey Garrett for the nomination and presentation of this award, and for her general support of my research,” said Ardoin. “And thank you to all the individuals - participants, co-authors, reviewers, editors, and publishers - who have partnered with me in this work or read/used some of it.”
“It is my belief that the impact of research and scholarship is measured by how it advances educational equity, and I hope that the publications I/we offer the higher education and student affairs field are achieving that aim,” she added.
Dr. Leslie Bradbury
2022 Outstanding Service Award
Bradbury, a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and program director of the elementary education undergraduate program, joined the RCOE faculty in 2006. With her focus on science education, she loves to work with undergraduate students in elementary education as well as students and teachers in our local public schools.
“I feel fortunate to work with such great colleagues, students, and public school partners in the elementary education program,” said Bradbury.
Bradbury received her Bachelor of Science in biology from James Madison University, a master’s in science education from East Carolina University and a doctorate in science education from the University of Georgia.
2022 Outstanding Staff Award
Hahn has served as an administrative support specialist in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction for the last ten years. Prior to coming to App State, she worked as a bookkeeper for a small, family-owned business in the High Country.
“There are so many staff diligently working behind the scenes to make sure departments run smoothly, I am humbled by the award and appreciative of the recognition,” said Hahn.
“I would just like to say that without the support network provided by all the RCOE staff (and other staff members across campus), I wouldn't be able to do the job I do,” she continued. “I would like to thank them for all they've done for me.”
2022 Community of Practice Award
The Creativity Collaborative is an interdisciplinary community of faculty across departments, not only here in the college, but also at the university. Members include:
- Dr. Tempestt Adams, assistant professor of career and technical education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction;
- Jewel Davis, associate professor and education librarian in the University Library;
- Dr. Peaches Hash ’12 ’20 ’21, lecturer of rhetoric and composition in the Department of English and English instructor with John Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth;
- Dr. Jennifer Luetkemeyer, assistant professor of library science in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies; and
- Dr. Theresa Redmond ’05, associate professor of media studies in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
What began as a reading group in 2018 blossomed into a common interest to bring creativity and curiosity - specifically visual journaling - to their teaching, research, and service. Now in their fourth year of collaboration, the group continues to explore ways to enhance the student learning experiences and their research through this arts-based lens.
They have presented and published widely, modeling a cross-disciplinary community of practice that emphasizes thoughtful reflection and a key tenant that everyone is creative and that creativity is important for learning and living.
Adams’ research interests include teacher preparation, college and career readiness, and career and technical education. Currently, she is interested in exploring creative research outlets including art-based methods and autoethnography.
“This Community of Practice works very hard to center our humanity and wholeness alongside the work we must do as educators and researchers,” said Adams. “I am appreciative of the recognition of our efforts, but I am more excited about how the awareness of our work can impact others at the university- personally and professionally.”
Davis works in the university’s preK-12 curriculum materials center and serves as a liaison to the college. Her research interests include diversity in youth literature and arts-based care in higher education.
“To receive recognition from the Reich College of Education awards committee reaffirms the value of our work and the impact we have had within our community and professions,” noted Davis.
Hash joined the group when she was a doctoral student, and her research interests include expressive arts, arts-based research, composition studies, and teaching.
Hash said, “Arts-based methods of learning, leading, and teaching are often overlooked in academic spaces, and seeing that the RCOE celebrates our efforts to disrupt passive routines and explore new ways of knowing makes me appreciate my time within the RCOE even more!”
Luetkemeyer is interested in the ways that students access information and knowledge, in what resources and information they have access to, and in how information and knowledge are presented to them. The fundamental principle that all students deserve, and should be provided with, equal access to information, knowledge, and resources guides her work.
“The work I've done with the Creativity Collaborative has been some of the most meaningful not only during my academic career but also in my life in general,” said Luetkemeyer. “To be recognized for that work is validation that the work is meaningful beyond my own personal experience and that of the group as a community of practice.”
Redmond’s research interests are varied, comprising a complex hybrid agenda that focuses on issues of preparation, fluency, and empowerment in the digital age with an emphasis on the effects of creative inquiry and expression through arts-based pedagogy and remix on media literacy learning.
“Our Creativity Collaborative is true to the spirit of ‘community of practice’ in that we came together despite the confining nature of contrived academic structures and traditional content silos,” noted Redmond. “We come from different backgrounds, areas of expertise, and campus roles in order to uplift and honor the in-between spaces of academic work and to advance creative expression as central to students’ learning and scholarship in higher education. It is an honor to have our work recognized by our peers and we are hopeful that our collaborative models the potential that may unfold when we move beyond the pre-determined and into the interdisciplinary spaces of possibility.”