News and Accolades


Teaching peace in the country school

Carolyn Weber, assistant professor of elementary and middle level education, and Sarah Montgomery, associate professor of elementary education, were recently featured in a Vision of Education podcast on rural Iowa schools in the early 1900’s. In episode 124, titled “Elementary Citizenship from a Century Ago,” they share what they learned examining curriculum and school records from UNI’s Center for the History of Rural Iowa Education and Culture.  They also published an article on their research titled, "The Emergence of Elementary Citizenship Education: Insights from Iowa’s Rural Schools, 1910-1935" in the journal Theory and Research in Social Education (TRSE). The article addresses the impact of World War I on social education in rural Iowa.  Weber and Montgomery found that despite nationalist rhetoric at the state level, Iowa's rural schools implemented a child-centered citizenship curriculum that focused on themes of kindness, peace, and community. 

Helping to build robotsTwo women smiling at the camera

Magdalena Galloway, an instructor in instructional technology, has been volunteering as a mentor with FIRST® LEGO® League teams at Kingsley Elementary and Hoover Middle school in Waterloo for the past three years.  Her involvement includes supporting students creative work and help them develop research, collaboration, and communication skills while creating robots and preparing for competition. "This is a perfect example how the 4 Cs for the 21st Century Learning come to fruition," said Galloway. Students not only use their critical thinking and creative problem solving while designing their robots and coding their missions. They also collaborate, gather information, communicate with experts locally and globally, and create amazing visual presentations. All this would be much more difficult without social media and available technology tools, she noted.

For Galloway, the best part is having her educational technology minor students involved and watching their involvement grow over time. Last year, she took her students to the FIRST® Robotics Competition, and this year they supported the robotics teams by serving as a practice audience (via online video conference), asking difficult questions and giving pointers on how to present.  "Last year I had the privilege to work arm in arm with a UNI’s elementary education major and STEM education minor Josie Christiansen (pictured on the right)," Galloway explained. "This year she was mentoring her own team!"

News archive




The following tabs list awards (including grants), presentations and publications related to Curriculum and Instruction students, alumni, faculty and staff.  To find items involving C&I faculty, look on both tabs: collaborations that involve students and faculty are listed on the first tab, while items that only involve faculty or staff are listed on the second tab.

Abby Weiland, a doctoral student in curriculum and instruction, had the opportunity to present her research, “Teacher Well-Being: The Quest to Do What’s Best for Kids Without Losing Yourself," at the Texas Association of Literacy Educators Annual Conference in Waco, Texas on March 1, 2019. She was honored with one of two Graduate Student Research Poster Awards. Her research explored the experiences of practicing elementary teachers as they navigated the demands of the teaching profession, and how these experiences contributed to their conceptualization of teacher well-being. 

Doctoral student Brooke Becker's journal article entitled “Addressing Common Misconceptions with Informal Arguments” was published in The Mathematics Teacher in April 2019. This article reflects upon the implementation of a high school mathematics activity that provides the opportunity to address misconceptions about triangle congruence conjectures as they naturally develop through the formation of informal proof schemes.

Marine Pepanyan, a doctoral student in the curriculum and instruction program (B.A. linguistics, English and Spanish, M.A. TESOL/Spanish), presented her research with Sohyun Meacham, assistant professor of literacy education, at the 2019 The Association for the Study of Play (TASP) conference in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Pepanyan is a graduate assistant at UNI and her presentation was based on her research interests which include play and playfulness in adult second language (L2) teaching, integration of play in cross-cultural teaching with the emphasis of implementation of robotics in L2 Communicative Language Teaching classroom. The research presentation was titled "Play Element and Dynamics of Interaction in an Adult Second Language (L2) CLT Classroom." 

Beth VanMeeteren, associate professor of literacy education and director of the Iowa Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education, and North Tama County Community School District (NTCCSD) educators Vonna Watson, Brenda Kaufmann, and Lisa Chizek were active at the Annual National Science Teachers Association in St. Louis April 11-14, 2019. All worked together to deliver a short course on the Ramps & Pathways curriculum. VanMeeteren and the teachers from NTCCSD manned tables featuring classroom implementation of collaborative work involving early STEM. Vonna Watson featured Ramps & Pathways: Integrated STEM in the Elementary Classrooms; Brenda Kaufman, Matter Matters: Investigations and Literacy Connections; Lisa Chizek, Light & Shadow; and Beth VanMeeteren, Tinkering with Tops. In addition, Lisa Chizek, also a UNI doctoral student and Beth VanMeeteren presented two conference sessions: "Learning About Light and Shadows with Shadow Stories" and "Engineering a Pancake Recipe: Connecting Chemistry to Everyday Life." 

Mason Kuhn, assistant professor of elementary education, and Denise Tallakson, instructor in elementary education, along with Kylee Wilson, Bryce Cox, Hailey Buzynski and Jenny Pedersen (undergraduate elementary education majors) presented at the National Association of Professional Development School Conference in Atlanta on Feb. 15, 2019. Their presentation was entitled, "A Unique PDS Model: Using Arts Integration with Elementary Students Who Have High Adverse Childhood Experiences."

Andrea Hora (M.A. school library studies) published an article with Joan Bessman Taylor, associate professor of school library studies, and Karla Krueger, associate professor of school library studies, on how students search for books in a genrefied school library. The article, published in December 2017, is partly based on research Hora conducted for her master's research paper. Hora is currently a media specialist at Prairie Crest Elementary School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Citation: Taylor, J. B., Hora, A., & Krueger, K. S. (2017). Self-selecting books in a children’s fiction collection arranged by genre. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science.

Alumna Tiffany Ahrens was invited to speak on humorous books at the 50th Annual Elementary Literacy Conference at UNI on April 13, 2018. Her presentation was titled, "Make 'Em Laugh: Great Humorous Books for Kids." Ahrens earned a B.A. in elementary education and a teacher librarian minor through UNI and is a teacher librarian at Cedar Heights Elementary School in Cedar Falls.

Sarah Montgomery, associate professor of elementary education, in collaboration with Zak Montgomery, associate professor of Spanish at Wartburg College, two UNI alumnae, Elizabeth Silbernagel and Yvonne Ayesiga, and Wartburg alumna Anne Epley, published an article titled, “‘You’re not Latino, You’re American’: Heritage Learners of Spanish Navigate Issues of Cultural Identity in Higher Education” in the College Student Affairs Journal in the spring of 2018.  The team of researchers investigated the evolving linguistic and cultural identities of heritage speakers of Spanish as they navigated higher education. Silbernagel earned a B.A. in elementary education with a minor in literacy education, and Ayesiga earned an M.A. in post-secondary education, both at UNI in 2016.

Amanda Wasylik (M.A. literacy education) presented a paper at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in April 2018 in New York City titled “Changing Practice: Self-Study of My Use of Comprehensive Literacy Instruction for Teaching Students With Disabilities.” The paper was based on Wasylik’s master’s research and co-authored by Deborah Tidwell, professor of literacy education. Wasylik teaches elementary special education in the Middleton Cross-Plain Area School District in Wisconsin.

Dessy Stoycheva, C&I doctoral candidate, presented a co-authored commentary with former UNI professor Ralph Reynolds in a structured poster session at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in April 2018 in New York City.  Her poster was titled “The Model of Domain Learning: Understanding the Development of Expertise.”

Karla Krueger and Joan Bessman Taylor, associate professors of school library studies, presented at the joint conference of the Iowa Reading Association and the Iowa Association of School Librarians on June 25, 2019 in Ames, Iowa. Their presentation was titled "A Shared Dance: Reading Teachers, Teacher Librarians and the 2019 School Library Program Standards," and discussed how the new Iowa school library standards can support school improvement initiatives.

Sarah Montgomery, associate professor of elementary education, in collaboration with Maya Van Driel, special education teacher in Orono Public Schools (MN), and Kim Vandendriessche, retired kindergarten teacher at St. Patrick School (Cedar Falls, IA), published an article titled "Mindfulness: Promoting Peace in a Kindergarten Classroom" in the journal "Social Studies and the Young Learner." The article features the ways that they taught mindfulness in Kim's classroom to promote social studies education aims.

Leigh Zeitz, associate professor of instructional technology, made a presentation at the Iowa Technology and Education Connection (ITEC) conference in Des Moines on October 15, 2019. The interactive presentation was titled "Top Tools and Strategies for Connection Your Students to the World." Zeitz shared a number of various types of collaborative projects that he had supervised with students throughout the world. He also introduced the Sustainable Development Goals and how he had used them in an international project with another teacher education professor at Red Rock College in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Taraneh Matloob Haghanikar, assistant professor of literacy education, presented at the 2019 Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) conference in Indianapolis, Indiana in June. She presented a paper titled “How do multicultural characters feel? An intersectional approach to oppression and activism in multicultural picture books.”

Taraneh Matloob Haghanikar, assistant professor of literacy education, presented at the 2019 Conference on Instruction & Technology at SUNY Purchase College in New York in May. She presented a paper titled “Diversifying our curriculum: The use of educational technology to make our courses more diverse.” 

Deborah Tidwell, professor of literacy education, presented a round table paper at the 2019 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) in April in Toronto, Canada. The title of her paper presentation was “Object-ive self-study of administrative work,” a self-study of her practice as an interim department head during the 2017-2018 academic year.  She also served as discussant for a paper session on ethics and self-studies.

Taraneh Matloob Haghanikar, assistant professor of literacy education, published an article in The Journal of Educational Technology Systems titled "Diversifying our curriculum: Values and intercultural experiences through educational technology" in September 2019.

Karla Steege Krueger, associate professor of school library studies, was an invited panelist for the webinar "Celebrating and Advocating for School Libraries" in the Better Together: Collaborative Conversations webinar series through Iowa Area Education Agencies (AEA) on April 4, 2019.

Tarenah Matloob Haghanikar, assistant professor of literacy education, received the Nielsen Endowed Fellowship Award through UNI for 2019-2020.  This research fellowship will support her project "Is My Syllabus Diverse Enough?"  The purpose of the project is to design and conduct a series of workshops for elementary teachers in the state of Iowa who would like to include diverse literature in their teaching.

Karla Steege Krueger, associate professor of School Library Studies, and Joan Bessman Taylor, associate professor of School Library Studies, presented at the Iowa 1:1 Institute on April 3, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. The presentation was titled "1:1 Through the School Library: Think, Create, Share, & Grow" and was based on blending digital and information literacies with a commitment to inclusiveness and respect for diversity within a school library program and the new Iowa School Library Program Standards (2019).

C&I faculty and students: Submit your Accolades

If you have questions about the accolade form (see link above) or need to submit additional information, email or