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Recognizing Our 2018-2019 College of Education Leaders

by College of Education / May 9, 2019

2018-19 College of Education Awards

The College of Education at Illinois is pleased to announce the faculty, staff, and student recipients of our 2018-2019 Faculty and Staff Awards. Honorees were recognized May 2 at the College’s Spring Faculty Meeting.

In addition to these awards, several other faculty, staff, and students of the College of Education received national recognition and campus honors during the academic year. Thank you to those who served on the 2018-2019 Faculty & Staff Awards Committee. Congratulations to all our well-deserved awardees!

College of Education Faculty and Staff Awards

Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award – Rochelle Gutiérrez, Professor of Curriculum & Instruction
Dr. Gutiérrez has been teaching undergraduate-level mathematics education and foundations of education courses at UIUC since 1997. As noted in her nomination letter, “she challenges her students to become agents of change. Her teaching isn’t always comfortable, but students in her courses are always valued, supported, and prepared.” A former student summarized, “I can only count a number of impactful teachers in my education. Dr. Rochelle Gutiérrez was one of the few teachers that transformed, inspired, and supported me in my endeavors.  She is one of the most caring and thoughtful people I know and has my highest recommendation.” Another letter writer concluded, “She has truly made a difference in my life and will continue to have an impact on my teaching career as I apply the lessons I learned from her to the next generation of students.”

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award – Anne Haas Dyson, Professor of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership
Dr. Dyson is an internationally renowned scholar who brings a passion for literacy and literacy research to her graduate teaching. She has received the highest ICES scores in each of her semesters of graduate-level teaching since 2006. Dr. Dyson’s letter writer, who was a former Ph.D. student of Dr. Dyson’s and is now an Assistant Professor at Illinois State University, writes, “She did not function as the "sage on the stage," but as a caring expert…she took copious notes of our class discussions and then wrote them up each week as analytic memos, each consisting of about 10-15 pages long…The amount of time, effort, and thought put into these weekly writings are indicative of her dedication towards her students' scholarship (many of whom are people of color), which has produced many of the leading literacy scholars currently in the field.”

Distinguished Teaching Career Award – Karla Möller, Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction
Dr. Möller was selected on the basis of her 32 semesters of teaching undergraduate and graduate-level courses in the College, 29 of which she was recognized on the CITL’s List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent.  Dr. Möller creates a supportive and critically responsive learning environment for her students, and she connects her pre-service teachers with local practicing teachers who are “successful literacy pedagogues for all children” using innovative technological and non-technological approaches. Her letter writer notes that Dr. Möller’s “standards were tough, but they made me into a better worker, reader, writer, and educator, and it caused me to see my own self value in a completely different light than before…. All in all, Dr. Möller has helped me to see my worth in the academic setting and she has expected of me nothing less than greatness, and for that I will be eternally grateful.”

Outstanding Faculty Award for Public Engagement – Helen Neville, Professor of Educational Psychology
Dr. Neville was selected based on her significant contributions at the local, college/university, and state and national levels. Accomplishments of note include campus-community partnerships, such as Policing in a Multiracial Society Project (PMSP),  #PowerUp: Youth Civic Engagement, and the Community Healing through the Arts (C-HeARTS) collaborative. In addition, Dr. Neville created a Promoting Healing Through Social Justice initiative as part of her presidency of the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race.  Her letter writer, who is the Director of the Illinois Policy Training Institute, commented, “I believe that the most critical issue in law enforcement today involves the intersection of police and race, and more specifically the role racism plays in the policing practice. I think it is extremely important to mention that it takes tremendous courage to provide interventions in this realm to young police recruit officers, who are primarily white males. There have been many difficult conversations during the classes and Professor Neville has an incredible gift to present at the academy in a professional, patient, and compassionate manner. She is an absolutely amazing facilitator during these very difficult situations.”

Spitze / Mather Faculty Award for Excellence – Jessica Li, Associate Professor of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership
Dr. Li was chosen for this award because of her long-standing and impactful research trajectory in the area of lifelong learning and promotion of family life issues. Her nominator, Dr. Ostrosky, wrote, “As the lines between work and life become blurred with family and work life becoming increasingly intertwined, it is critical that individuals are satisfied in their home and professional lives. Through her scholarship, teaching, and service Dr. Li is helping us understand these relationships more fully and consider ways to improve them.”

Outstanding Teaching Award for Teaching Assistants – Laura Valderrama, Educational Psychology
As a Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Psychology, Ms. Valderrama has taught a range courses in Curriculum and instruction and EPSY. In Fall 2018, she took over as lead instructor of Dr. David Zola’s Introduction of Educational Psychology course after his passing, while also tirelessly mentoring TAs for the course. Her letter writer commented, “Laura is all around an exceptional mentor and instructor. She is confident in the work she does and is also personable and approachable to all those that work with her.”

Academic Professional Excellence Award – Victor Perez, Center for Education in Small Urban Communities
Dr. Perez is the Coordinator of Operations for the Center for Education in Small Urban Communities. His reach is felt widely in the College and broader Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities. He oversees numerous programs, including Project SOAR (Student Opportunities for After-School Resources), a tutoring and mentoring program that connects Illinois students with local Latinx youth, the Youth Literature Festival, the Martin Luther King Jr. Creative Expressions Writing Contest, and the Teacher Collaborator Project. Dr. Perez’s nominator, Dr. Bill Trent wrote, “He makes it a point to always advocate for underrepresented students and has worked in several capacities to ensure that educational opportunities are afforded to underserved students.”

Distinguished Staff Award – Jill Rannebarger, Education Administration
Jill has been employed at the university for over 20 years. In her position as Assistant to the Dean, she tirelessly schedules on- and off-campus meetings, responds to email invitations and queries that come from within and beyond the College and university, in addition to supporting numerous other responsibilities in the Dean’s Office. Her nominator, Amy Summers, wrote, “Jill has distinguished herself as a true professional; ever competent, tactful, discreet, and proactive. Jill continually seeks out opportunities to learn new things and she shares this knowledge with others; she is an outstanding team member, colleague, and supervisor.”

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Recognition

Kiel Christianson, Professor of Educational Psychology – Campus Award for Excellence in Guiding Undergraduate Research

Lisa Monda-Amaya, Professor of Special Education and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs – Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching

Sarah Zehr, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership – 2019 Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Award

Bureau of Educational Research Faculty Awards

Catherine Corr, Assistant Professor of Special Education – 2019-2020 Hardie Faculty Fellow

Stephanie Smith, Assistant Professor of Curriculum & Instruction – 2019-2020 Hardie Faculty Fellow

Kiel Christianson, Professor of Educational Psychology – Distinguished Senior Scholar

Robb Lindgren, Professor of Curriculum & Instruction – Distinguished Scholar

Bureau of Educational Research Hardie Dissertation Awards

Sahar Alameh, Curriculum & Instruction

ArCasia James-Gallaway, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership

LuEttaMae Lawrence, Curriculum & Instruction

Kristina Rios, Special Education

Roberto Rojas Alfaro, Curriculum & Instruction

Professional Awards and Recognition for Faculty

Ruth Nicole Brown, Professor of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership – 2018-19 Award for Outstanding Professor in Gender and Women's Studies 

Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, Director, Office for Community College Research and Leadership – Transfer Catalyst Award from the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students 

Outstanding Student Medal Awardees from the College of Education

Kelsey Linnig – Bachelor’s Recipient (Special Education)

Crystal Williams – Master’s Recipient (Special Education)

Shereen Oca Beilstein – Doctoral Recipient (Educational Psychology)