COE Spring 2019 Awards Ceremony Audience photo

Faculty, Staff, and Students Recognized at COE Annual Awards Ceremony

Dean Rice and Daniel Levin

On Friday, May 4, the College of Education recognized faculty, staff and students at the College’s 16th Annual Awards Ceremony. A number of awards were given out in categories ranging from Excellence in Teaching to Outstanding Undergraduate Student, in addition to acknowledging accomplishments by members of the COE community.

Dean Jennifer King Rice welcomed everyone and highlighted college-wide achievements and special events that occurred during the academic year. She introduced and acknowledged the work of Daniel Levin, associate clinical professor in TLPL, for his work as the College of Education Senate chair, which included overseeing the awards committee, as well as many other endeavors throughout the year.

Dr. Levin, after acknowledging the contributions of the awards committee, presented about the accomplishments of each College of Education award recipient, reading quotes from their nomination letters, as Dean Rice presented each award winner with a plaque. Following the COE awards, faculty and staff were recognized for their years of service at the university and six graduate students received certificate awards from The Graduate School.

2019 College of Education Awards


Dean Rice, Jill Jacobson and Daniel Levin
Jill Jacobson, Ph.D.

Excellence in Teaching

In her nomination letter, seven of Dr. Jacobson’s third-year graduate students had this to say about Dr. Jacobson, “Dr. Jacobson is constantly supporting our longer-term career development through class assignments and her openness to facilitating outside externships. Within the classroom, she fosters a collaborative environment where students feel comfortable asking questions, taking risks, and sharing vulnerabilities.” Dr. Jacobson constantly encourages her students to think critically about the roles of a school psychologist and to utilize new techniques and strategies to support students, teachers and families. As a testament to the level of influence Dr. Jacobson’s teaching has on students, year-after-year students say that they first felt like a “real school psychologist” after taking Dr. Jacobson’s full-year child assessment class and associated practicum.


Dean Rice, KerryAnn O'Meara and Daniel Levin
KerryAnn O’Meara, Ph.D.

Excellence in Graduate Mentoring

Dr. O’Meara is a professor of higher education, director of the ADVANCE Program for inclusive Excellence, and associate dean for faculty and graduate affairs. “Dr. O’Meara has afforded me a number of opportunities to further my academic and professional development. [I’ve] had the privilege of serving as a research assistant on Dr. O’Meara National Science Foundation grant – the Faculty Workload and Rewards Project for the past four years. This experience has enable me to become a better researcher, and contribute to the field of higher education,” wrote Courtney Lennartz, one of Dr. O’Meara’s students.


Dean Rice and Geetha Ramani
Geetha Ramani, Ph.D.

Excellence in Scholarship

Dr. Ramani’s research is an excellent example of interdisciplinarity in that it spans four distinct subfields: cognitive development, social development, mathematics education, early childhood education. “She interweaves these fields elegantly by measuring growth in cognitive skills with careful attention to the social and educational context of this growth. She also works at multiple levels of analysis in that she aims to enact social change via increasing engagement of parents, teachers, and caregivers around mathematics learning in ways that will impact individual child development, and importantly, tracing these effects,” wrote Dr. Kelly Mix, professor and chair, Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology.


Dean Rice and Cixin Wang
Cixin Wang, Ph.D.

Excellence in Scholarship

In Dr. Wang’s studies of bullying and victimization, she has used sophisticated research methods, including cross-lagged models and latent transition analyses to clarify the links between bullying risk factors over three time points. “Dr. Wang’s research contributes to the advancement of school psychology practice internationally, particularly in China, where she was among the first to examine the roles and functions of school psychological providers,” wrote Dr. Hedwig Teglasi, professor and training director of school psychology.


Christy Tirrell-Corbin and Dean Rice
Christy Tirrell-Corbin, Ph.D.

Excellence in Scholarship

Dr. Tirrell-Corbin has worked extensively with Title I (high poverty) schools to increase family engagement and raise awareness of teacher beliefs and practices relative to race, culture and socioeconomic status. Dr. Tirrell-Corbin has made key contributions to translating research into practice. “In my broad professional experience, I can think of no one better equipped to translate early childhood research into practice and her record provides abundant evidence of her accomplishments in that regard,” writes Dr. Kelly Mix, chair of HDQM.


Dean Rice, Margaret McLaughlin and Daniel Levin
Margaret McLaughlin, Ph.D.

Excellence in Outreach / Partnership

Margaret McLaughlin has consulted with numerous state and local agencies, and international organizations, including the World Bank, InterAmerica Bank, USAID, as well as in almost every state and over 50 local districts and seven countries on issues related to policies for including students with disabilities in public schools and higher education. During her time as the associate dean for research, innovation, and partnership, Dr. McLaughlin’s innovation and steadfast leadership created incredible opportunities and collaborations for faculty, staff, and students in the College of Education, and has expanded the university’s footprint and impact. “Maggie worked and forged relationships with school system leadership in Prince Georges, Anne Arundel, Howard, St. Mary, Calvert, and Charles County schools and so far over 100 school leaders have participated in the Ed.D. degree program,” writes Dr. William Ming Liu, chair of CHSE in her nomination letter.


Dean Rice, Daniel Levin and Margaret Polizos Peterson
Daniel Levin, Ph.D.

Excellence in Service

As Chair of the Senate over the 2018/2019 academic year, Dan has brought renewed emphasis to the importance of the Senate's work, especially in clarifying the Senate’s mission and goals and in supporting COE’s Dean's initiatives according to the new College of Education Strategic Plan. “When I consider the level of service I have seen from Daniel Levin over the past year, I am most impressed with the array of work to which he contributes, as well as the heart and enthusiasm he brings to his service tasks. His efforts are not limited to our Department and College, but also to the wider campus and even abroad. In my mind, his commitment to service exemplifies the best a campus citizen might provide. His commitment to transparency and reporting to our respective constituencies is admirable -- and refreshing. The Senate under his leadership has become more of what the body is supposed to be,” writes Dr. Peggy L. Wilson, clinical assistant professor, TLPL.


Dean Rice, Elsie Pratt, Blesilda Lim and Daniel Levin
Blesilda Lim (Exempt) and Elsie Pratt (Non-Exempt)

Outstanding Staff Award

This year, we honored two staff members, presenting the Outstanding Staff Award to Blesilda Lim (exempt) and Elsie Pratt (non-exempt).

Ms. Lim has served as the Director of Finance and Administration in CHSE for the past eight years but has been with the College of Education for more than 28 years. “In the time I have worked with Blesilda, I have completely appreciated the institutional knowledge she brings to her work and to support my role. In all my time in academic administration, I would rank Blesilda among the top 1 percent of all staff with whom I have worked. She is an incredible asset to our department, a leader in the college, and just a terrific colleague,” CHSE Chair Dr. William Ming Liu wrote about Ms. Lim.

Ms. Pratt serves as a Program Administrative specialist in TLPL. She has been with the College of Education for more than 14 years. “So many times faculty have expressed, with high praise, how Elsie guided them through the complex and often frustrating promotion process. Having her notary credentials has also given the College a much-needed resource for assisting employees in submitting official paperwork with regard to their employment.  Always cheerful and friendly, Elsie seldom turns away a colleague in need of assistance!” writes Dian Poore, business manager, Dean’s Office.


Dean Rice, Kristin Sinclair and Daniel Levin
Kristin Sinclair

Outstanding Doctoral Student Award

Kristin Sinclair is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership program, where she is focusing her research on enhancing our understanding of how students become active agents of social change. “Kristin is an exceptionally talented, disciplined and dedicated scholar. Given her intellectual strengths, maturity and integrity, I have come to view her as a valued colleague and would rank her as one of the top three doctoral students I have worked with in my 30 plus years as a professor,” writes Dr. Betty Malen, of the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership.


Daniel Levin, David Clifford and Dean Rice
David Clifford

Outstanding Master’s Student Award

David Clifford is finishing his Secondary Science Teaching Masters Certification Program. David earned a certificate from Flinn Scientific in High School Laboratory Safety, and he was the recipient of a College of Education scholarship for graduate study. Dr. Daniel Levin writes: “I would describe David’s leadership contributions to the program and to the College as ‘leading by example’. Other students in his cohort uniformly like and respect David for the respect he offers others, his work ethic, and his thoughtful contributions. He is generous with his (limited) time and freely shares his own work with others.”


Steven Klees with Dean Rice Accepting on behalf of Justin van Fleet
Justin van Fleet

Outstanding Alumni Student Award

(Steven Klees accepting award on behalf of Justin van Fleet) Justin van Fleet earned his Ph.D. in International Education Policy at the College of Education. Dr. van Fleet’s work has demonstrated exceptional leadership in education to our global society at large. He has been very successful in getting Heads of State and Ministries of Finance in many countries to make education investment a greater priority. “He is thoughtful, understands the perspectives of those who disagree with him and can relate to them, is straightforward, and has great personal integrity,” according to Dr. Steven J. Klees, his former doctoral advisor.


Rachel Kim

Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award

(Due to a prior engagement, Rachel was not available to accept her award)

Rachel is an undergraduate student pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education Mathematics. She has a passion for her content area and working with youth. Jessica Chew, manager of advising and recruitment in the Office of Student Services, stated that, “Rachel was a delight to have as an Ambassador. Our office benefited from her leadership, reflective skills in presentations to future students and their families, and creativity.”


Michael Rizzo

Distinguished Dissertation Award

(Due to a prior engagement, Michael was not available to accept his award)

Michael Rizzo received the Distinguished Dissertation Award for his dissertation “Children’s Developing Conceptions of Fairness.” The capacity to treat others with fairness and equality are two central concepts that humans acquired, and which make us unique among the species on earth. Michael’s dissertation project was designed to examine how obstacles, disadvantaged status, and a lack of theory of mind, emerge in development and bear on decisions about the fair resource allocation. “Michael’s dissertation project broke new ground in the area of developing concepts about the fair distribution of resources to others… As his doctoral thesis advisor, I can testify that Michael’s dissertation project was outstanding. The project reflects his talents as a superb writer and an exceptionally strong early career research scientist,” wrote Dr. Melanie Killen, ADVANCE Professor and program director in HDQM.


We honored six Outstanding Graduate Assistants who have been recognized by the Graduate School.

  • Ryan Sappington (CHSE)
  • Yun Lu (CHSE)
  • Avery Hennigar (HDQM)
  • Kelly Smith (HDQM)
  • Autumn Griffin (TLPL)
  • Jamar Perry (TLPL)

We acknowledged faculty promotions and employee service anniversaries.

Professional Track Faculty Promotions:

  • Promoted to Associate Clinical Professor
    • Sarah Mallory
    • Natasha Mitchell
    • Candace Moore
    • Margaret Walker
    • Peggy Wilson
  • Promoted to Senior Lecturer
    • Stacey Williams


Tenure Track Faculty Promotions:

  • Promoted to Professor: Andrew Elby
  • Promoted to Associate Professor: Tracy Sweet, Ji Seung Yang


Service Anniversaries:

  • Charm Kinya Mudd, HDQM, 5 years
  • Kahlin McKeown, COE, 5 years
  • Penny Marie Stradley, TLPL, 10 years
  • Regina Lynn Cole, TLPL, 10 years
  • Akta Patel, HDQM, 15 years
  • Jennifer Lynn Haislip, CYC, 20 years
  • Cornelia Snowden, HDQM, 20 years
  • Amleset Teklegiorgia, CHSE, 20 years
  • Joseph Robertson, COE, 20 years
  • Dian F. Poore, COE, 20 years
  • Rochella Katrina McKoy, COE, 20 years
  • Valeria Foster, COE, 20 years
  • Elizabeth Driver, Maryland English Institute, 25 years
  • Elaine B. Henry, CHSE, 30 years
  • Patricia Ann Dowdell, Student Services, 40 years