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Faculty News

Dr. Shelly Forsythe recently received a Travel Award from the Life Discovery Conference (LDC) and the LDC-QUBES Faculty Mentoring Network. These awards are made possible with support from the National Science Foundation. She will attend the 4th Life Discovery – Doing Science Education conference and will participate in the LDC-QUBES Faculty Mentoring Network. 

Dr. Russell Lang has been awarded the Erskine Fellowship by the The University of Canterbury in New Zealand. He will spend Summer 2018 in New Zealand as a visiting professor, and will deliver university/college-wide lectures and collaborate on research.

Dr. Lang and his former student Katherine Ledbetter-Cho have also been invited to speak at the International Conference on Assistive Technology which will be held in Rome, Italy from October 4th-6th, 2017. 


Study Abroad

Dr. Minda Morren Lopez, Associate Professor of Literacy in C&I recently co-led a study abroad program to Panama with Dr. Christine Lynn Norton, Associate Professor of Social Work. This interdisciplinary study abroad program focused on international human rights and social justice and examined the relationship between social work and education. Dr. Norton and Dr. Lopez partnered with Kalu Yala, an experiential education institute that focuses on environmental sustainability and community development. 

Study Abroad

The two-week program included 3 days of camping and participating in outdoor recreation activities in the Pecora River Valley, followed by 4 days in the small town of San Miguel, where students volunteered with a local afterschool program and attended cultural events in the community. The trip also included 5 days in Panama City.  Included in the program were visits to various schools and community groups. The group went to an after school program in Buena Vista, a barrio in Colon, outside of the free trade zone where students learned about immigrants to Panama and challenges in the underserved area. Participants also visited three schools in Panama City, one private school in the City of Knowledge and 2 public schools in Casco Viejo.

Lori Czop Assaf

Dr. Lori Czop Assaf was recently awarded the Fulbright Specialist Grant in late August and recommended to the Fulbright Roster. She is now a Fulbright Scholar who can work with a variety of universities around the world, and is currently in contact with several universities about upcoming projects.


English in Texas - co-edited edited by Jane Saunders, Gwynne Ash, Lori Assaf, Carol Delaney and Valerie Taylor of Texas State University,  and published by the Texas Council of Teachers of English - has been named winner of the 2016 NCTE Affiliate Journal Award, given by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).  

Dr. Brandon Beck

Dr. Brandon Beck has been named as a recipient of Texas State University’s 2016 Excellence in Diversity Awards.  

These awards are given annually to one faculty member, one staff member, and one team who provide exceptional commitment to diversity at Texas State University by promoting the university’s diversity goals.  


Dr. Araceli Ortiz, director of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research, was recently interviewed by The Texas Tribune to discuss STEM Education.

The full article is located here:

Dr. Maneka Brooks  wrote a guest post for Nelson Flores' blog. It discusses the intersection of labels, literacy, and bilingualism. Below is a brief excerpt:

"The predominant framing of the LTEL marginalizes many young people’s sophisticated use of English and erases other relevant aspects of their identities and experiences. I argue that a more productive instructional orientation would center on creating academic environments in which this population can experience on-going success. This orientation entails moving away from seeing, representing, and teaching students who are labeled as LTELs as individuals who have “broken” or “incomplete” linguistic abilities.”

The full blog is available at:

Dr. Maneka Deanna Brooks

Dr. Maneka Deanna Brooks, assistant professor of reading education, recently participated in an on-line discussion for the Literacy Research Association’s Research to Practice Show (#LRAR2P).  The purpose of the Research to Practice Series is to make connections between current literacy research and best practices for literacy instruction. In this episode, Dr. Brooks engages in a conversation with fellow literacy scholars about a forthcoming co-authored article entitled, Struggling Readers? Using Theory to Complicate Understandings of What It Means to be Literate in School. During this episode, the participants challenge deficit perspectives on students as readers and discuss how theory can be used to expand the scope of research to include contextual factors that add complexity to our understanding of literacy teaching and learning. Notably, Dr. Donna Alvermann of the University of Georgia, who served as a discussant, emphasized the importance of this research for the education of future literacy teachers. The full episode is available from LRA’s Youtube page:

Learn More About Dr. Brooks’ Research

Learn About Texas State’s Master’s Program in Reading Education

Learn About the Origins of LRA’s Research to Practice Series


Dr. Russ Hodges was recently recognized for three awards for outstanding teaching/service:


Recipient, Distinguished Teaching Award, Texas State University Alumni Association, 2015
The award recognizes, encourages, and rewards  superior Texas State classroom teachers. 

Recipient,  Distinguished Teaching Award, College Reading and Learning Association, 2015
This award recognizes an educator that exemplifies teaching and learning as a lifelong journey using a clear model of enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and compassionate teaching.

Recipient, Gladys R. Shaw Outstanding Service to Developmental Education Students Award, National Association for Developmental Education, 2016 (to be awarded March 18, 2016, at NADE’s national conference in Anaheim, CA. 
This award recognizes a member of the Association’s long-term service to developmental education students. 


As an associate professor for the College of Education, Dr. Hodges focuses his research on bettering student success strategies, changes in higher education demographics and interventions for students with learning disabilities. His outstanding teachings and research has led to many achievement awards from national groups like the College Academic Support Programs, College Reading and Learning Association and the National Association for Developmental Education. Dr. Hodges was also named National Fellow in 2009 for the Council of Learning Assistance and Development Education Associations, a group he was once a chairman.


Dr. Russ Lang – Executive Director of the Clinic for Autism Research, Evaluation and  Support (CARES) and Assistant Professor in C&I – and Dr. Terry Hancock – CARES’ Research Director – who will serve as Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator, respectively, have received a grant for their Responsive Interaction Parent Training (RIPT) project. This $150,000 study is funded by the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services’ “Innovative Treatment Services for the Benefit of Children with Autism, Ages Three through Fifteen” program and will be completed by August 31, 2015.

Currently, over 26,000 Texas children between the ages of 3 and 15 with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are on a waiting list to receive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)-based early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) services. Using RIPT, Drs. Lang and Hancock will train parents to use core components of Enhanced Milieu Teaching to support the language and communication of their children with ASD in their own homes using an online training package. Online training will involve a combination of video modeling of RIPT intervention procedures for parents and downloadable supporting training materials. Online training will be supplemented, only when necessary, by direct coaching and feedback from a project RIPT coach.


Dr. Emily Summers – Associate Professor in C&I – will serve as a Co-Principal Investigator on the Association of American Geographers (AAG)-Texas State research project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Rapid Response Research (RAPID) program. Texas State’s portion of Geospatial Resources, Materials, and Tools for STEM Teacher Preparation requests $199,816 for one year.
This NSF RAPID project will research the effectiveness of prototypes of geospatial resources, materials, and tools (RMT) designed to help teachers understand and attain the professional performance standards for spatial thinking and analysis in STEM education. The project will commence with a three-day planning meeting involving a research collaborative of academic geographers, geospatial technology educators, and STEM teaching methods professors from AAG and Texas State. The meeting’s purpose is to plan the content, design, and development of the geospatial RMT and associated research methodology and instrumentation.

Additional Personnel:

  • Principal Investigator – Dr. Michael Solem (AAG)
  • Other Co-Principal Investigators – Dr. Niem Tu Huynh (AAG) and Dr. Richard Boehm (Co-PI, Professor of Geography)
  •  Senior personnel: Dr. James Van Overschelde (Director of Evaluation & Research in OEP and Assistant Professor in C&I); Dr. Gail Dickinson (Assistant Professor in C&I), Dr. Sharon Strickland (Assistant Professor of Mathematics); Dr. Hiroko Warshauer (Senior Program Faculty in Math Education), Dr. Edwin Chow (Associate Professor of Geography), and Dr. Carmen P. Brysch (Associate Director of the Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education)


Dr. Araceli Ortiz (Director of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research and C&I Assistant Professor) is a Co-Principal Investigator and Dr. Leslie Huling (Senior Advisor, LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research and C&I Professor) is the Community College Liaison for REENERGIZE: Attraction, Recruitment, and Retention of Students in STEM Programs, a three-year project awarded $613,000 by the US Department of Education’s Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program.
REENERGIZE will establish a creative research and development (R&D) and professional development (PD) ecosystem to empower six Central Texas institutions of higher education to prepare students in engineering and engineering technology using enhanced and focused knowledge, programs, and facilities. The research team will develop and integrate Green Energy instructional modules into various courses across the undergraduate engineering curriculum. Research activities will assess the impact of these modules on undergraduates’engineering professional identity development and preparation as well as the impact of the Green Energy context upon historically underrepresented students' motivation to persist in completing engineering programs of study. Working with the project’s partner institutions, additional pathways will be explored to enhance students’ academic success in engineering.
Additional Personnel:
Principal Investigator – Dr. Bahram Asiabanpour, Associate Professor, Ingram School of Engineering
Co-Principal Investigators – faculty from the Ingram School of Engineering and Department of Engineering Technology


Dr. Kathy Fite, professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, has been named an Ambassador for Childhood by the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and the Alliance for Childhood.

The Ambassadors for Childhood program is an initiative during the international Decade for Childhood (2012-2022) that enlists leading children’s experts and advocates to encourage all organizations to consider children in their decision-making. Ambassadors secure commitments from individuals, organizations, and businesses to engage in activities of their choice that support childhood.

"The Decade for Childhood is critical to ensuring that all people fully understand that the period of childhood is central to our human future," said ACEI Executive Director Diane Whitehead. "A good childhood helps children feel loved and secure, allows their natural talents and abilities to flourish, and enables participation in family and community life. Ambassadors for Childhood help us carry this message forth to all corners of the world."

The first cohort of Ambassadors was selected at the 2012 Global Summit on Childhood to serve a three-year term. The second cohort of Ambassadors will be selected at the 2014 Global Summit on Childhood.

About the Association for Childhood Education International

The Association for Childhood Education International is a non-profit organization working to promote and support the optimal education, development and well-being of children worldwide. They have consultative status with the United Nations, and publish a variety of journals and books on children’s rights, care and education. The website is