News and Accolades


Hip hop in ThailandUNI Performers In Thailand

This January, eight UNI hip hop performers traveled with Shuaib Meacham, an associate professor of literacy education, to the Sisaket and Surin Provinces in Thailand, where they performed in front of hundreds of Thai citizens, as well as 250 other artists from around the world, on six different occasions at various civic centers, temples and schools.

According to Meacham, “We discovered through both the China and Thailand trips is that hip hop performers are cultural ambassadors. The world is fascinated with hip hop culture and the US is rightfully perceived as the home of its authentic practice. As hip hop artists, the world wants them to share what they know and what they do. I learned since returning from Thailand that after one visit to a high school, the students seeing us, assumed that the group would perform at their school. When they did not perform, the organizers of the festival had to answer to the students about why there was no hip hop performance although we were at the school. The UNI students are in a position to literally perform hip hop workshops around the world.”

Meacham plans for the eight UNI students to be both educational and performance mentors to the Waterloo School district students who are a part of the Hip Hop Literacy program in the future.

Collaboration on civil rights

A KingAshly King (elementary education major) in collaboration with Linda McCartney and Marc Renning, UNI instructors in elementary education, produced a curriculum unit that focused on the role that Iowa played in the Civil Rights Movement. The unit began as a class assignment and came to the attention of Katy Swalwell, an associate professor at Iowa State University.  Swalwell connected Ashly King with several people who could help with her research including civil rights activist Patti Miller who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Swalwell also invited Ashly King to work with her on future research projects.  "This curriculum collaboration brought a lot of joy and passion into my unit because it is a topic that connects the history of our nation and the way we desire to move forward within our communities. This topic is changing the way students think and feel resulting in a more informed civilian body,"  said King, a student in the 2+2 Elementary Education program, a joint initiative between UNI and Des Moines Area Community College.

Top marks for the Child Development Center

The UNI Child Development Center received five-year accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in September.  NAEYC Accreditation uses research-based standards to recognize and drive quality-improvement in early learning environments. The Child Development Center (CDC) cares for children (infant through age five) and frequently hosts early childhood education students for field experiences.  In addition, the CDC was recently assessed through the Iowa Quality Rating System (QRS) and received the highest rating, level 5.

Hip hop literacy abroad

Students in ChinaFour Waterloo students went to China to perform at the annual Hangzhou Citizens Leisure Festival, as a part of the International Young People’s Concert Group, in October along with Shuaib Meacham, associate professor of literacy education. Meacham has been directing the Hip Hop Literacy Summer School project for 6 years. The students wrote and performed their own original songs. Because of the program’s involvement in the festival, the students have been invited to perform in other countries as well, including Thailand and Hungary. UNI students wanting to support and participate in the Hip Hop Literacy project can contact Meacham directly at


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.

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.”

Two teacher librarian alumnae were named AASL Social Media Superstars on April 30, 2018 by the American Association of School Librarians. Chelsea Sims (M.A. school library studies), a teacher librarian at South East Junior High School in Iowa City, was honored with the Sensational Student Voice award for using social media to share student work and and show the library's impact on student growth.  Teacher librarian, author, speaker and consultant, Shannon McClintock Miller (B.A. elementary education, M.A. school library studies), was honored with the Leadership Luminary award for her tireless leadership through social media.  

Matthew Mengler (B.A. elementary and middle level education) won third prize in Rod Library’s inaugural Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award competition in the spring of 2018 for his honors thesis, "’Slavery Wasn’t That Bad': An Examination of the Effects of Reduced Social Studies Class Time and Student Misconceptions.”  Mengler graduated in May 2018.  Sarah Montgomery, associate professor of elementary education, served as his honors thesis advisor.

Mahjabeen Hussain, C&I doctoral candidate, was awarded a scholarship for winning First Place: Oral Presentation-State College Room at UNI’s 11th Annual Graduate Student Symposium on April 3, 2018 with Transforming Professional Learning Using Self-Study in an EFL Context.  Sixty graduate students and 29 graduate faculty judges participated in this year’s event.

Shehreen Iqtadar, C&I doctoral candidate, was awarded a scholarship for winning Second Place: Poster Presentation at UNI’s 11th Annual Graduate Student Symposium on April 3, 2018 with Personal Experiences of Students at the Intersection of Race, Gender, and (Dis)ability.  The Graduate Student Symposium provides a showcase for graduate students to present their research and creative works.

Sonia Yoshizawa (M.A.E. early childhood education) and Winnie Wong (Ed.D. leisure, youth and human services) collaborated with Beth VanMeeteren, associate professor of literacy education and director of the Iowa Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education (RCEDE), on a presentation entitled "East Meets West: Pathways to Understanding How Young Children of Different Cultures Engage in Physics" at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference on March 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  They explored the societal constraints in eastern and western cultures that interrupt powerful integrative STEM experiences for young children. Yoshizawa coordinates early childhood research at East Tennessee State University, and Wong operates a STEM education business in Hong Kong.

Dessy Stoycheva, a C&I doctoral candidate and an instructor in educational psychology and foundations, and Leann Perkins, a child development specialist at the UNI Child Development Center, published an article in the Journal of STEM Arts, Crafts, and Constructions about preschoolers learning physics concepts through arts.
Citation:  Stoycheva, D., & Perkins, L. (2016). Three- and four-year-olds learn about gears through arts incorporation. Journal of STEM Arts, Crafts, and Constructions, 1(2), 67-83.

Carolyn Weber, assistant professor of elementary and middle level education, in collaboration with Heather Hagan, assistant professor at Coastal Carolina University, presented at the annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies. The presentation was titled "Toxic Water: Evaluating Sources Concerning Flint's Water Crisis" and was about teaching upper elementary students how to evaluate sources to complete an inquiry lesson.

Sarah Montgomery, associate professor of elementary education, presented a session titled, "Mindful Citizens: The Heart of Social Studies Education" at the 2018 National Council for the Social Studies conference in Chicago, Illinois in November. The presentation explored the theoretical and practical intersections between mindfulness and social studies.

Salli Forbes, professor of literacy education and Debra Rich, instructor of literacy education, presented at the Jacobson Center and Reading Recovery Literacy Academy on October 10, 2018 at UNI. Their presentation was titled, "Powerful teaching decisions: Acceleration through reciprocity." Also at the Academy, Rich presented "Teaching for independence: Developing inner control."

Gloria Kirkland Holmes, associate professor of early childhood education and coordinator of the Shining Stars Girls and Young Male Leaders, presented at the 48th Annual Conference of the National Black Child Development Institute in Dallas, Texas, in October 2018. The presentation highlighted supporting black girls in positive school-community experiences and helping them and the young black males become leaders.

Debra Rich, instructor of literacy education, presented at the Kalmanovitz School of Education Fall Reading Conference at Saint Mary's College of California, Moraga, California, on September 22, 2018. Her presentations were titled, "Teaching for independence: Developing inner control" and "Vocabulary: Which words do I teach?"

Linda Carter-McCartney, instructor in elementary education, was selected to receive training in teaching elementary students about population through Counting on People in Washington D.C. In addition to her training, the Counting on People mini-grant supported presentations and training for other educators as well as 85 copies of the Counting on People curriculum for UNI students. Carter-McCartney shared the Counting on People curriculum in a presentation at the 2018 Fall Iowa Council for Social Studies Conference and discussed inquiry based lesson plans that teach about the demographics of the growing human population and the human impact factor.

Dana Atwood-Blaine, assistant professor of elementary education and the Jacobson Elementary Science Fellow, and Mason Kuhn, assistant professor of elementary education, presented on "Considering the Crosscutting Concepts" at the Iowa Science Teacher Section of the Iowa Academy of Science annual meeting in Ankeny, Iowa on October 8, 2018.  The crosscutting concepts are one of the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards.

Sohyun Meacham, assistant professor of literacy education, and Dana Atwood-Blaine, assistant professor of elementary education and the Jacobson Elementary Science Fellow, published an article on using the Reggio Emilia approach with young children through robotics.  “Early Childhood Robotics: A Lego Robotics Club Inspired by Reggio Emilia Supports Children's Authentic Learning” is available in the October 2018 issue of Science and Children.
Citation: Meacham, S. and Atwood-Blaine, D. (2018). Early Childhood Robotics. Science and Children, 56(3), 57-62.

Salli Forbes, professor of literacy education and director of the Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy, received an award for outstanding leadership as the president of the Reading Recovery North American Trainers Group at the organization's semi-annual membership meeting in Columbus, Ohio on September 20, 2018.

Carolyn A. Weber, assistant professor of elementary and middle level education, in collaboration with Sarah E. Montgomery, associate professor of elementary education, published a manuscript titled, “The Emergence of Elementary Citizenship Education: Insights from Iowa‘s Rural Schools, 1910–1935” in August 2018 in the journal Theory & Research in Social Education. The article explores the impact of World War I on social education curriculum shifts in Iowa's rural schools. It was 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.

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