Curriculum and instruction (C&I) faculty are actively engaging within and beyond the UNI community. They regularly present at conferences on topics reflecting their areas of scholarly research and expertise. They are members of standing committees and initiatives for their profession, UNI, the college and the department. They advise students both informally and formally as student organization faculty advisors. For their efforts, their peers and students recognize them for their contributions and commitment. 

Awards, presentations and publications

Dana Atwood-Blaine, associate professor of elementary education, presented at the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) annual conference, held February 23-26, 2023: “After the Fall of the Giant Ivory Beanstalk: A Tale of PDS Growing Pains in 5 ‘Essential’ Chapters”

Lori Norton-Meier, director of the Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy and professor of literacy education, presented “The messy reality of learning to teach: Understanding the role of clinical partnerships for preparing future teachers to work in complex spaces during uncertain times,” at The Hawaii International Conference on Education held in January 2023.

Karla Krueger and Joan Bessman Taylor, associate professors of school library studies, published “Discerning users of information: A qualitative analysis of student inquiry,” in Open Information Science. Citation: Krueger, Karla Steege and Taylor, Joan Bessman (2022). Discerning users of information: A qualitative analysis of student inquiry. Open Information Science, vol. 6, no. 1, 2022, pp. 74-94.

Beth VanMeeteren, director of the Regents’ Center for Early Developmental Education and associate professor of literacy education, and Sherri Peterson, program coordinator, published Investigating Ramps and Pathways with Youth Children in 2022 through Teachers College Press.

Dana Atwood-Blaine, associate professor of elementary education, and Robin Dada, professor and head of curriculum and instruction, and Dawn Del Carlo, professor of chemical education, received a one-year grant of $66,682 in 2022 from the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, part of the National Science Foundation, to fund a project focused on building the capacity of elementary STEM instruction in Iowa. Through this effort, they hope to establish the current status of elementary STEM instruction, particularly in high-need schools, and lay the groundwork for a follow-up proposal. 

Sohyun Meacham, associate professor of literacy education, and her co-authors presented six papers at the American Educational Research Association virtual conference in April 2022.  Her papers included:

  • Diversity of language practices in four families of Asian American immigrants
  • Being (Asian) American: Young children’s exploration of racial/cultural identity and representation of Asian racism
  • Asian/Asian-Americans with disabilities portrayed in children’s picturebooks
  • Wrestling with racism in children’s names and naming practices
  • Bringing Asian American children and families to light: Expanding the racial discourse in early childhood
  • Being Asian American faculty against invisibility and silence to/by/in higher education.

Sarah Vander Zanden, associate professor of literacy education, and Lois Berger, instructor in literacy education, in conjunction with local teachers published a study about joyful teacher leadership and writing instruction. Co-authors included Cedar Falls teachers Katie Simpson (B.A. elementary education, M.A.E. literacy education), Katie Taylor Clausen, Kristen Schrock, Erin Becker and Jen Dise (B.A. elementary education). The study was published as a book chapter in a volume dedicated to teacher leadership.  Citation: Vander Zanden, S. and Berger, L. with Simpson, K, Schrock, K. Becker, E., Dise, J., and Clausen Taylor, K. (2021). Unwrapping the shrink wrap: teacher led improvement in writing instruction, In Zugelder, Bryan (Ed.). Empowering formal and informal leadership while maintaining teacher identity. (pp. 258-274). IGI Global. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6500-1.ch010

Beth VanMeeteren, associate professor of literacy education and director of the Iowa Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education served as the on-site host for the hybrid Association for Constructivist Teaching (ACT) conference held Oct. 21-22, 2022 at Schindler Education Center and online. VanMeeteren, the ACT president-elect, presented on “A Constructivist Approach to STEM Learning and Teaching: Stories from the Classroom.”

Carolyn A. Weber, associate professor of middle level education, presented at the Organization of Educational Historians annual conference in October 2020. Her presentation, "Educating for Citizenship in Pre-World War I Schools in the United States," focused on a citizenship curriculum written by five women in 1914.

Carolyn A. Weber, associate professor of middle level education, presented with a colleague at the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference in December 2020. The presentation was titled "Using your own agency: Creating an action plan for change."

The American Educational Research Association's (AERA) Online Teaching and Learning Special Interest Group (SIG) named Nandita Gurjar, assistant professor of literacy education, and her co-author Haiyan Bai as the runner-ups for the Online Teaching and Learning SIG 2021 Best Research Paper Award.  Bai, University of Central Florida, and Gurjar presented their research paper  "Assessing Culturally Inclusive Instructional Design in Online Learning” on April 9 at the virtual AERA 2021 conference.

Professor and head of curriculum and instruction Robin Dada along with Stephanie Schmitz, associate dean of the College of Education, and Colleen Mulholland, dean of the College of Education, published a book chapter about their leadership during the pandemic. Citation: Schmitz, S., Mulholland, C. & Dada, R. (2021). Our leadership: Patience, grace, and flexibility. In Fasching-Varner, K., Bickmore, S., Hays, D., Schrader, P, Carlson, D., Anagostopoulos, D. (Eds.), The corona chronicles: On leadership, processes, commitments, and hope in uncertain times (pp. 55-62).

Assistant professor of literacy education Taraneh Matloob Haghanikar published an article on teaching pre-service teachers about forced journeys in immigration.
Citation: Matloob Haghanikar, T. (2021). Forced journeys: Integrating lessons about immigration in teacher education. The Social Studies. DOI: 10.1080/00377996.2021.1889456

A recent study on leveraging social networks for authentic learning was published by Nandita Gurjar, assistant professor of literacy education, in the distance learning special issue of TechTrends. Citation: Gurjar, N. (2020). Leveraging social networks for authentic learning in distance learning teacher education. TechTrends, 64(4), 666-677. DOI:10.1007/s11528-020-00510-7

Nandita Gurjar, assistant professor of literacy education, made several presentations at the virtual  Association of Educational Communication and Technology (AECT) conference Nov. 3-7, 2020. She led a workshop in Humanizing Cultural Identities and Contexts for Empathetic Understanding in Learning Design. She presented in two concurrent paper presentations sharing papers “Designing Online Discussions for Culturally Inclusive Dialogue” with co-author B. Hall and “Makerspace Reimagined: An Italian Exploration in Creativity.” Gurjar also shared at the Learner Engagement and Teacher Presence Meet Mobile Learning roundtable presentation and was part of a panel on Early Career Faculty Symposium Participant Perspectives.

Sarah Montgomery, associate professor of elementary education, was invited to speak at the Library of Congress Teaching for Primary Sources Consortium meeting in April 2021.  She shared examples from her past Library of Congress grants and described how she uses primary sources to teach literacy.

Associate professor of early childhood education Betty Zan and co-researchers published an article in Young Children based on their project Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering (RISE) funded by the National Science Foundation.  The article is titled  "A Home-to-School Approach for Family Engagement: Leveraging Children’s Familiar Knowledge and Cultural Communities in Preschool STEM Curriculum."  Citation: McWayne. C. M., Mistry, J., Hyun, S., Diez, V., Parker, C., Zan, B., Greenfield, D., & Brenneman, K. (2020). A home-to-school approach for family engagement: Leveraging children’s familiar knowledge and cultural communities in preschool STEM curriculum. Young Children, 75(5), 20-26. 

Sarah Bryans-Bongey, associate professor of instructional technology, published an article in Journal of Educational Technology Systems in December 2020.  The article titled "From Digital Distraction to Digital Direction: Implementing Interactive Agendas in the 1:1 Classroom Environment" documents success in the design and implementation of digital hubs or webmixes as a way to promote student collaboration, engagement, and productivity in the face-to-face classroom and beyond.