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SOE Featured Faculty and College News

Sept. 12, 2013 –  

Hey SOE Hokies, your productivity is so amazing I am truly overwhelmed. Keep the news coming my way. It would take a team of super-charged Olympians to keep up with you ~ hence the partial updates.


Dr. Min Sun Dr. Sun

Congratulations NSF awardee Min Sun, Assistant Professor of Quantitative Methods and Education, ELPS, who has just received word that she has been awarded a NSF sub-award proposal to Vanderbilt University titled "Cross-National Comparison of School and District Supports for High-Quality Mathematics Instruction in the US and China." Min thanks the following SOE and VT supporters for all their efforts in seeing through her first NSF grant: Drs. Karen Roberto, Barb Lockee, Steve Janosik, Jane Lee, Tom Ewing, & Joan Hirt.


Dr. Amy Price Azano Dr. Azano

Way to go Amy Price Azano, CIDER’s TEACHER OF THE WEEK The Teacher of the Week program recognizes effective, engaged, and dynamic teachers. View the Teacher of the Week at The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes this assistant professor of Teaching and Learning for her content knowledge, ability to work with students from across disciplines, and overall classroom performance. (Amy’s photo is below)

Amy Price Azano is busy working on a book titled A Place to Learn: Place-based Pedagogy and Critical Literacy (Bloomsbury). She also has a chapter forthcoming on gifted rural students in Callahan and Plucker's 2nd edition of Critical Issues in Gifted Education. Last spring Amy received a Niles Research Grant from CLAHS to continue work in rural literacy in a neighboring county. Additionally, she received a mentoring grant from the Provost's Office. We all get to benefit from it, as she plans to host rural scholar Dr. Kai Schafft (professor at Penn State and editor of the Journal of Research in Rural Education) who will present to faculty and students on "Why Rural Matters."

Highlighted areas of recognition for the School of Education include:


Josaih Tlou, Professor Emeritus in the School of Education/Office of Education Research and Outreach, was recognized by the National Council for the Social Studies with its Distinguished Global Scholar Award. He planted seeds for intercontinental partnerships when he worked to develop a social studies curriculum in Malawi from 1996-98. Since then, he has embarked on a series of teaching-and-learning collaborations for the SOE that have extended into Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, and South Africa, resulting in almost $5 million in grants to improve active learning, critical thinking, participatory and interactive teaching-learning techniques, increased use of the Internet, and community service learning. Josiah served as a consultant for UNICEF as part of the curriculum review process for the Zimbabwe education system and was instrumental in the establishment of the Adopt-A-School Project with the Mwanje Primary School in Malawi.

John Burton, Learning Sciences and Technologies, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eastern Educational Research Association.

Honored with an Excellence in Outreach Award were Heidi Anne Mesmer, Teaching and Learning

Faculty Certificate of Teaching Excellence (CTE) Award winners included Jennifer Brill, Learning Sciences and Technologies

Amy Price Azano, Teaching and Learning, was awarded a Curriculum Award from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

Myra Thayer, doctoral student, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, was selected as Virginia Tech’s 2012 Graduate Woman in Leadership Award recipient. Presented annually by the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy (WLP) Council, the award recognized outstanding Virginia Tech students whose accomplishments include leadership and service to the community.

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors conferred the emeritus title on Daisy Stewart Cartwright, Associate Professor

Program Awards

The SOE was awarded two of the three 2012 University Exemplary Program Awards in CLAHS. Recognized were the Arts and Humanities Program in Teaching and Learning and the Higher Education Program, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. (The third awardee was the Department of English). Each winner received a portion of the $40,000 award for its achievements in effectively integrating ePortfolios to improve student learning, the 2012 theme.


Kelly Parkes, Teaching and Learning, "Advancing Outcomes Assessment"

Angela Williams, a doctoral candidate in the School of Education/Teaching and Learning and a fourth grade teacher at Christiansburg Elementary School, received the 2013 International Reading Association's Steven A. Stahl Research Grant.

International Faculty Initiatives

Austral University, Valdivia, Chile, July 2013: Kris Tilley-Lubbs, Teaching and Learning and a specialist in English as a Second Language, organized and conducted a teacher’s workshop in collaboration with the Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades.

Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs

Patricia Kelly (Learning Sciences and Technologies - Malawi)

Bill Price and Joseph Mukuni (Teaching and Learning - Zambia)


The School of Education maintained its high profile in outreach initiatives, continuing support for the SOE-Mechanical Engineering Robotics program offered in Montgomery County Schools and professional development programs in Fairfax County. The SOE renewed the COTA/CPE MOU to offer two programs through the School Leadership Institute: one for newly appointed school administrators and one for aspiring superintendents. It also finalized a collaborative MOU between VT/COTA and West Virginia Public Education Consortium to promote technical education initiatives.

We were engaged in such PreK-12 partnerships as these:

  • The Virginia Department of Education’s Virtual Virginia Project, a partnership to design and deliver distance learning to VA high school students
  • The Educational Technology Leadership Conference, co-sponsored with the Virginia Department of Education
  • As an external partner for Hopewell City Public Schools
  • Support for the IB program in Hanover County Public Schools
  • The Leading in Reading collaborative effort between Virginia Tech and Radford College of Education faculty, proving professional development to school leaders in Region 7 School Districts
  • The STEMAbility Summer program, held July 2012, serving high school students with disabilities and their parents from across the Commonwealth.


Praise goes to Laura Welfare, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, who was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor June 2013.