College of Education and Social Services
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CESS Faculty Research Newsletter: Spring 2023

OSEP Grant Supports Launch of Project RESILIENCY and New PhD Program

Project RESILENCY faculty Justin Garwood, Shana Haines, Bernice Garnett, Colby Kervick, and Jessica Strolling-Golzman

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, UVM launched Project RESILIENCY to train specialized and interdisciplinary leaders in the education of children and youth with or at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders. The project will fully fund the first cohort of doctoral scholars in the newly launched PhD in Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Health and Inclusive Education (SHIE). SHIE scholars will engage in interdisciplinary collaborations, training, and research to develop and test programs and practices in school and community settings. 

Core faculty members leading the project are Drs. Justin Garwood, Shana Haines, Bernice Garnett, Colby Kervick, and Jessica Strolling-Goltzman. 

“We know that, increasingly, the need for mental health support among our children and families far exceeds what they can get outside of school,” says Garwood. “So, how do we meet these needs in school? We will train the future leaders who will help us answer that question.”

Story: UVM Launches Project RESILIENCY and New PhD Program


UVM Launches New PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision Program

Nancy Thacker Darrow, Aishwarya Joshi, Lance Smith, Jane Okech, and Julie Welkowitz

To address the nationwide shortage of clinical mental health counselors and school counselors, UVM is launching a new PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. “We see the addition of our PhD program as an opportunity to help our field meet the mental health needs of our communities,” says Program Coordinator Nancy Thacker Darrow. 

Students will work alongside internationally accomplished faculty with expertise in a variety of research, clinical, and supervisory areas. The program includes built-in systems for mentorship, internships, and collaboration on research and scholarship. An emphasis on equity and social justice will prepare students to meet the needs of underserved communities.

Core faculty joining Thacker Darrow to lead the new program are Drs. Aishwarya Joshi, Jane Okech, Lance Smith, and Julie Welkowitz. 

Story: UVM Launches PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision


Reyes Awarded Fulbright Research Chair Positions in Canada

Faculty Profile: Cynthia Reyes

Associate Professor Cynthia Reyes has received two Fulbright Canada awards for the 2023-2024 academic year. During the fall semester, her Fulbright Research Chair position at the University of Waterloo, Ontario will engage in work with interdisciplinary scholars focusing on anti-racism and BIPOC communities. During the spring semester, she will serve as Fulbright Research Chair in Education at the University of Alberta focusing on equity in pedagogy and scholarship on the experiences of non-dominant families and communities.

“Receiving two Fulbrights to work with scholars on projects that I am passionate about makes this accomplishment very rewarding," said Reyes. "I am proud to represent the University of Vermont and stand alongside my other colleagues who have received Fulbright awards.

Dr. Reyes's community-engaged research and service focus on family and school professional partnerships, digital literacies, and educational policy and language. She is the co-author of Humanizing Methodologies in Educational Research: Centering Non-Dominant Communities published by Teachers College Press.


UVM HESA Professor Earns National Recognition

Brittany (Brit) Williams

Dr. Brittany M. Williams is a National Academy of Education (NAEd)/ Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow serving in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) graduate program at UVM. Her most recent article published in the Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education is titled “It’s Just My Face:” Workplace Policing of Black Professional Women in Higher Education.

Williams delivered the keynote address at the 2023 ACPA College Student Educators International convention. Her recent recognition includes the following awards:

  • Research and Scholarship Award, Coalition of Women’s Identities from ACPA: College Student Educators International
  • Stellar 50 Award, African American Knowledge Community from NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
  • Early Career Award from the Faculty Council, NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Dr. Williams has made national media appearances through National Public Radio, Teach for America, the National Black Women’s Health Imperative.


UVM Social Work Department Featured in National Magazine

Jan Fook

The latest edition of Social Work Advocates features the work of faculty leading UVM's transformative social work programs. Highlighted in the article are initiatives connected with faculty members' international perspectives and their expertise in areas such as gerontology, mental health, substance use prevention, and trauma.

Department Chairperson Jan Fook says the focus on "transformative social work" is guided by critical social constructionism emphasizing social justice and social equity. Two faculty members in the department are co-editors of a new book titled Academic Practice in Transformative Social Work to be published by Columbia University Press. 

Full story in Social Work Advocates


Leon Walls Awarded Grant to Study Water Crisis and Environmental Racism

Leon Walls

Funded by a Gund Institute Catalyst Grant, Associate Professors Leon Walls and Julia Perdrial will explore the water crisis and environmental racism in Jackson, Mississippi, where inhabitants regularly go weeks without clean water.

Partnering with scholars at the University of Vermont and Jackson State University, the team will design and implement a culturally relevant teacher education program and collect preliminary data on the water crisis’ impacts on community, teachers, and the learning of Black children.

Prioritizing relationship-building and community feedback, the research team aims to advance scholarship in STEM education, racism and climate change. The project will also provide tools and resources for educators in cities affected by water crises in the future. 

Full story


School Leaders Awarded Doctoral Scholarships

Monica Desroches and Andrew Conforti

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral students Monica Desrochers and Andrew Conforti received scholarships in recognition of their outstanding leadership in Vermont public schools.

Desrochers is the recovery coordinator for equity and inclusion in the Addison Northwest School District, Her quantitative research project about student belonging and examining contributing factors from educators. Much of her research focuses on the preschool-to-prison pipeline, identifying causes and preventative measures.

Conforti serves as the principal of Colchester High School. His research examines the relationship between grit/resilience and stress/burnout for administrators in secondary schools.

Story: School Leaders Awarded Doctoral Scholarships


From STEM Scholars to STEM Educators

Noyce Scholars

Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, UVM's Robert Noyce Scholarship Program aims to address the shortage of highly qualified highly qualified STEM teachers. Through the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, scholars earn their graduate degree and licensure to teach in high need school districts. 

The MAT offers one-year licensure pathways including full-year teaching internships supported by nationally recognized faculty and professionals in the field. 

Story: From STEM Scholars to STEM Educators


Human Development and Family Science Faculty Earn National Recognition 

Christine Proulx and Jaz Routon

The National Council on Family Relations recently honored two faculty members in UVM's Human Development and Family Science Program. Dr. Christine Proulx was recognized for excellence in mentoring students and colleagues. Dr. Jaz Routon received an award for their study examining how rural community characteristics impact stakeholder efforts to address the needs of unstably housed sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals and families.  

Story: HDFS Faculty Honored by National Council on Family Relations


Special Education M.Ed. Coursework Now Available Fully Online 

Keegan Bliss

Coursework in UVM's nationally accredited Special Education Master's Degree Program is now fully available online. The program features a rigorous curriculum and community-based internships supported by nationally recognized faculty and experienced professionals in the field.

Faculty work closely with students to design an individualized program plan aligned with their professional interests and career goals. Reciprocity agreements allow graduates to gain licensure in states throughout the country. 

Learn more about the Online Special Education M.Ed.


More News

UVM Alum Named National PE Teacher of the Year

CESS Doctoral Program Graduates Receive Online Teaching Awards


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