University of the Ozarks senior art major Willow Stratton of Fayetteville, Ark., will showcase her Senior Art Exhibit, titled, “Flock Life,” from Nov. 18-23 in the Stephens Gallery.
Willow, who is minoring in education and psychology, will present an artist talk at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, in Baldor Auditorium. There will be a reception to meet the artist at 5 p.m. on Nov. 23 in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center.
In her exhibit, “Flock Life,” Stratton honors her life-long attraction to birds.
“Most of my childhood was spent watching the birds and wishing for the ability to fly,” she said. “Now, birds are the main focus of the works due to my natural draw towards them. Each bird that I depict has a meaning, some from Celtic, European and Native American cultures. In each culture, items have different significance, occasionally sharing similar symbols. The cultures and symbols I am inspired by connect to my family lineage, making the works more personal to me.”
Stratton said each bird in her artwork represents a person in her life.
“For example, the hummingbird represents my mother,” she said. “A hummingbird symbolizes endless insight and wisdom, and it seeks out the good and beauty in life. My mother, to me, has endless knowledge about the world and she is always the person I reach out to for problems. In addition to the bird totems, the drawings include items that represent each person, whether it is something they like or something in their possession. Each symbol and bird is researched and noted so that the imagery will represent the person before I start the piece.”
Stratton said that in Native American culture, the yellow cactus flower represents motherhood and unconditional love.
“The Native Americans described the yellow flower as symbolizing patience and endurance,” she said. “My mother forever acts maternal towards me; taking care of me when I am sick or giving me motherly advice. The hummingbird and flower together represents her infinite patience and love for her children, resulting in its name, ‘Infinite Infinity.’ After the imagery is determined, sketches are created to plan a layout that includes their personality through cultural symbols and objects. Colored pencils are used to form the bird while an array of mixed media are used to create the background. The bird is drawn separately and then meticulously cut out and attached to the background. Other pieces are cut out and collaged in.”
Stratton said that not all of her artworks in “Flock Life” represent a positive relationship.
“One of the pieces, ‘You Ran Over Me,’ presents a dead owl, symbolizing the destruction this person caused on my life and self-esteem,” she said. “The background embodies the feeling of slowly being consumed by the feeling of dread and hopelessness, which ended up being a healing experience. The pieces will represent the positive and negative relationships in my life, some past and some present.”
Dr. Allison Freed, assistant professor of education/science education, has been appointed director of the Pat Walker Teacher Education Program, University of the Ozarks officials announced this week.
The promotion is effective immediately for Freed, who has taught at Ozarks since 2015.
“It’s an honor to be named the director of teacher education,” Freed said. “Moving forward, our department will continue our collaborative efforts to provide comprehensive teacher education for Ozarks students. My hope is to continue to support the strengths of the program while also working to meet the needs of our future teachers in an ever-changing world.”
A native of Michigan, Freed earned her Ph.D. in educational psychology and educational technology from Michigan State University. She has taught school in rural Michigan, London and Chicago, completed a fellowship in Botswana, been a wilderness trip leader in Wyoming, and served as a study abroad program leader in The Netherlands, France and Germany.
“I am delighted that Dr. Freed has stepped into this role at the University and look forward to seeing how the Pat Walker Teacher Education Program moves forward under her leadership,” said University Provost Dr. Alyson Gill.
Freed published two pieces of research and will or has presented at two international conferences this year. The first publication, The Journal of Sustainability Education, examines the relationship between university students’ environmental identity, decision-making process, and behavior. She also published a book chapter in Pedagogies and Pedagogical Challenges. Her presentations this year are at the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) and the Council for International Education Exchange (CIEE) conferences.
Freed also serves as the advisor of the Ozarks Student Education Association and the Planet Club.
The University of the Ozarks’ Pat Walker Teacher Education Program has been granted accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) through 2024.
U of O’s program was granted accreditation at the initial-licensure level and was one of 42 providers (colleges and universities) from 23 states and the District of Columbia that earned accreditation from CAEP during its spring review for their educator preparation programs (EPPs). These providers join 196 previously accredited providers in promoting excellence in educator preparation, bringing the total of CAEP-accredited EPPs to 238.
Created by the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, CAEP is the single specialized accreditor for educator preparation in the United States.
Dr. Brett Stone, dean of the education program, said, “I am extremely proud of the education faculty and staff for their steadfast commitment to making our program, students and curriculum the best it can be. The accreditation process is certainly challenging, but is critical for maintaining a quality program that produces competent teachers for the state of Arkansas.”
Stone also credited area school partners as well as other Ozarks faculty members for the success of the education program.
“I am certainly grateful for the support and participation from our program partners, particularly for their necessary role in helping us produce quality teachers,” he said. “I would like to specifically credit the U of O faculty, our cooperating classroom teachers and the administrators from area school districts for their involvement throughout this process.”
The CAEP Accreditation Council held its spring 2019 review in May, during which 42 providers were approved under the rigorous, nationally recognized CAEP Teacher Preparation Standards.
“These providers meet high standards so that their students receive an education that prepares them to succeed in a diverse range of classrooms after they graduate,” said CAEP President Dr. Christopher A. Koch. “Seeking CAEP accreditation is a significant commitment on the part of an educator preparation provider.”
CAEP is the sole nationally-recognized accrediting body for educator preparation. Accreditation is a nongovernmental activity based on peer review that serves the dual functions of assuring quality and promoting improvement. Approximately 800 educator preparation providers participate in the CAEP Accreditation system, including some previously accredited through former standards.
Educator preparation providers seeking accreditation must pass peer review on five standards, which are based on two principles:
- Solid evidence that the provider’s graduates are competent and caring educators, and
- Solid evidence that the provider’s educator staff have the capacity to create a culture of evidence and use it to maintain and enhance the quality of the professional programs they offer.
If a program fails to meet one of the five standards, it is placed on probation for two years. Probation may be lifted in two years if a program provides evidence that it meets the standard.
The impact that University of the Ozarks senior Shelby Carlton made on her students during her teaching internship at Lamar Elementary School this past year was quite obvious on her final day in the class.
As Carlton was about to leave Beth Mayes’ second-grade classroom for the final time, she was quickly enveloped by a large number of children in a farewell group hug. It was a moving culmination of a rewarding and educational year-long internship for the elementary education major from Clarksville who graduate with honors in May.
While most teacher education programs require just one semester in the classroom for education majors, the Pat Walker Teacher Education program at Ozarks requires a full year, something that Carlton believes makes a big difference in preparing future teachers.
“Being in the classroom all year long has been so helpful to me,” Carlton said. “I was able to see how crazy a first day of school can be, but I also got the chance to really bond with and get to know my students and fellow teachers. When it came time for me to begin teaching full-time, my students were used to me and respected me, and that allowed them to be receptive and able to learn from me. I know that this is an opportunity that not many have, and I feel like I was able to learn so much more from a full year in the same classroom rather than having only one semester.”
Carlton said she first got interested in teaching when she was in high school and visited her mother, who was working at a local elementary school.
“As soon as I walked into the building, I fell in love,” she said. “I saw teachers who were passionate about teaching and I saw students who were genuinely excited to learn, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of that.”
The teaching internship reaffirmed her decision to go into teaching.
“I remember sitting back one day and just watching my students read and work quietly. The classroom was peaceful, I had soft music playing, and I took a moment to soak in the learning environment that my cooperating teacher and I had created,” she said. “I realized in that moment that I genuinely love what I do, even all of the difficult parts. I love my students, I love seeing them grasp a concept, I love lesson planning, and I even love staying late to make sure everything ends up just right. I knew then that I am where I am supposed to be and I am doing what God has called me to do.”
Carlton said the biggest lesson she learned during her internship was the importance of patience.
“It took time for me to realize that every student is different and all of the students are not going to immediately understand everything that I teach them,” she said. “I learned how important it is to show patience and kindness to the students. It really helps them to learn when they know that you are on their side and are willing to help them.”
Carlton also said she learned that teaching is often a balancing act.
“I always joke that teachers have a million tabs open in their brains, and we can’t figure out which one is playing music,” she said. “Lesson planning, attending meetings, recording grades, actually teaching, assessing students, and working one-on-one with students are only a small part of the balance that I had to tackle. It was difficult, but I was able to find the balance. The most rewarding aspect was teaching full-time successfully and seeing my students learn from me. I was nervous about teaching everything, but before I knew it, I did it, and then it was over.”
Carlton credited her coordinating teacher, Mayes, on helping her throughout the internship.
“I cannot say enough about my Mrs. Mayes,” Carlton said. “I believe that we were placed together for a reason, and I truly have a lifelong friend in her and all of the other teachers that I met at Lamar Elementary. She answered my questions and was a true guide and light throughout the whole process. We worked so well together, and I wish that I could take her with me.”
Even before graduating from Ozarks, Carlton had secured a position as a fourth-grade teacher at Clarksville Elementary School, even though she did not feel good about her initial interview.
“My family is from Clarksville, so I really wanted this job,” Carlton said. “The day before my interview, my brother’s house burned to the ground. While everyone was safe, their possessions were not, and I spent the entire day helping to rescue what we could from the house. Going into the interview, I felt underprepared. I completed the interview with peace and confidence that was God-sent, and the next day I received a call that the position was mine if I wanted it. This happened in early March, so I have been extremely blessed and grateful to have had a position so early on. I am so excited to be teaching at my alma mater.”
Carlton praised the University’s education professors for helping prepare her for a career in the classroom.
“The education department here at Ozarks is amazing,” she said. “They have been more than willing to drop everything and answer my questions, and they make themselves available for guidance at any time. Ms. Pam Terry gave us real-life application skills and practice, Dr. Doris Metz ingrained the lesson and unit planning process in our minds, Dr. Allison Freed taught us how to manage our classrooms, Dr. Javier Taylor taught us how to teach in a way that allows students to understand deeply, and Dr. Brett Stone was the support system behind it all. Although I sometimes complained about all of the work, it was so beneficial to me in the long run. I feel almost over-prepared for my first teaching job.”The University of the Ozarks' chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the international honor society for teacher education, inducted several new members during a special ceremony in the Pat Walker Teacher Education Program on Thursday, April 4. The ceremony included current KDP members as well as faculty and administrators from the program and the University. Both new and current KDP members at the ceremony included, (pictured: front row, from left) Olivia Allard, Annie Rogers, Aubree Sisson, Jesse Cave, Miracle Warren, Ann Rener, Willow Stratton, Tyler O’Banion (back row, from left) Chapter President Shelby Carlton, Lauren Dotson, Makara Frazier, Bailey Hall, Brooklyn Keeling, Whitney McCrary, Tonya Palmer, and chapter sponsor Dr. Javier Taylor, instructor of practice of education. The new inductees were, Allard, Cave, Dotson, Keeling, O'Banion, Rener, Stratton and Warren. The chapter's graduating seniors were also recognized and honored. They included, Carlton, Allard, Rogers, Sisson, Dotson, Frazier, Hall, Keeling, McCrary, Palmer, Poly Ojeda and Jasmine Rosales. Kappa Delta Pi was founded by Dr. William Bagley in 1911 at the University of Illinois. It was established to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. The founders chose the name from the Greek words to represent knowledge, duty, and power. Pioneering from its beginning by including women as well as men, KDP grew from a local chapter to the international organization it is today, comprising 600 chapters and more than 40,000 members. The University of the Ozarks’ Pat Walker Teacher Education Program will formally welcome nine new students into the program during a special induction and pinning ceremony on Thursday, April 18, in the Walker Hall Community Room. The ceremony, which begins at 11:30 a.m., is a symbolic, time-honored tradition marking the occasion when students are welcomed into the Pat Walker Teacher Education Program. The newest inductees will receive a pin that signifies their association with the teaching education program as well as their new affiliation with the teaching profession. Among those U of O students expected to be inducted include, Olivia Allard, Shelby Carlton, Lauren Dotson, Makara Frazier, Brooklyn Keeling, Whitney McCrary, Bailey Hall, Rebecca “Annie” Rogers and Jasmine Rosales. Two students — Tonya Palmer and Emma “Aubree” Sisson — have already been admitted to the program and have received their pins. The event will include remarks from Randi House, the Arkansas Department of Education’s 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. House is a kindergarten teacher for the Conway Public Schools. She previously taught in the Nettleton and East Poinsett County school districts. House is a National Board Certified teacher with 15 years of experience. An alumna of Arkansas State University, House has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a master’s degree in reading. She is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in curriculum, instruction and assessment from Walden University. The campus community is invited to attend the ceremony. University of the Ozarks alumna and art and education adjunct professor Dr. Cathy Caldwell was recently presented with the Barbara Teague Leadership Award by the Arkansas Arts Educators at their 2018 conference in early November. Caldwell is a 1969 graduate of Ozarks and has taught as an adjunct faculty member for the U of O art and education programs since 2015. She has taught on all levels, from elementary school to college, in her 45 years in education. “I am so thankful for the 45 years of students who have never failed to provide a catalyst and inspiration for my teaching,” Caldwell said. “Teaching is a most creative art form. It is a special honor to be a recipient of an award from fellow art educators which also honors the difference arts engagement makes in the lives of students.” The Barbara Teague Leadership Award is presented to a past state association officer that is “recognized for their outstanding contributions and service to the profession in the performance and/or development of specific programs, goals, or activities at the state or province association level.” “Dr. Caldwell is an amazing asset to the art program,” said Tammy Harrington, professor of art at Ozarks. “Her knowledge and experience in the art education field is unparalleled and we are so lucky to have her teaching our students.” Caldwell has served as AAE president, membership chair, higher education chair, and conference coordinator. She has been a visual arts specialist, curriculum coordinator for 14 schools, curriculum coordinator for all subject areas for two elementary schools, a professor in higher education and art department chair. In addition, Caldwell has been the recipient of the AAE’s Higher Education Art Educator Award. She was also selected as the Western Region Higher Education Art Educator of the year and the National Marion Dix Leadership award by the National Art Education Association. She has also been awarded and coordinated grants in curriculum development and preservice education school partnerships. Caldwell took four Ozarks art students to the conference: Aubree Sisson, Tonya Palmer, Kirsten Endicott, and Willow Stratton. “This experience is invaluable to the students and allows them to interact with other art educators from across the state,” Harrington said. “Experiences like these also encourage the students to continue to develop skills and knowledge in this profession.” Caldwell’s husband, Blaine Caldwell, is also a 1969 graduate of Ozarks and taught art at the University for 29 years before retiring in 2011. Chris and Martha Allen of Clarksville have established an endowed scholarship at University of the Ozarks to aid future educators. With a $50,000 commitment, the Allens created the Chris and Martha Allen Scholarship Endowment for Teacher Education. The scholarship will be awarded to education majors at U of O with financial need, with a preference given to those from Johnson County. Martha Allen spent more than 36 years teaching kindergarten through fourth grade in four states — South Carolina, North Carolina, New Mexico and Arkansas. The last 22 years were spent teaching fourth grade in the Clarksville School District.