Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education awards celebrate faculty excellence

Joan Barnatt, Lisa Buchanan, Cherrel Miller Dyce and Marna Winter were recognized on May 16 for faculty excellence in teaching, scholarship, service and leadership at the annual school awards banquet.

Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education faculty members Joan Barnatt, Lisa Buchanan, Cherrel Miller Dyce, and Marna Winter were recognized on May 16 for faculty excellence at the annual school awards banquet.

Faculty Excellence for Teaching

Joan Barnatt, associate professor of education

Joan Barnatt, associate professor of education

In her nomination, Mary Knight-McKenna, professor of education and director of the M.Ed. program, shared, “although the plaque for this award has the academic year of 2022-2023 engraved on it, my hope is that when Dr. Barnatt looks at it, she knows that it actually represents an accumulation of many years of high-quality teaching.”

Barnatt’s teaching goes far beyond keeping the mission of the Elon Teacher Education program in mind. A common theme across her courses is the authentic integration and modeling of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) perspectives. Teacher candidates not only learn about DEI in her courses, they experience it.

“Dr. Barnatt teaches with passion and enthusiasm and clearly explains challenging concepts to help candidates deepen their knowledge. Focusing on the positive, she guides student teachers in becoming knowledgeable, caring, and effective teachers even in the midst of the current climate in public schools. This individual is devoted to seeing each candidate thrive and often ‘goes the extra mile’ to prepare candidates to meet challenges they will face,” stated Knight-McKenna.

Faculty Excellence for Scholarship

Lisa Buchanan, associate professor of education

Lisa Buchanan, associate professor of education

In her nomination, Erin Hone, senior lecturer in education, shared, “if you frequent the first floor of Mooney, you will see the steady stream of students going in her office to work on their undergraduate research. I feel like I read a Today@Elon article every other week about her presentations or publications.”

Since 2020, Buchanan has published eight peer-reviewed articles, co-edited a book, completed two book reviews, and written and contributed to five book chapters. She has presented or been accepted to present 14 research presentations at the national or state level, three of those at AERA, as well as 3 teaching presentations. Buchanan researches and writes about topics related to many elements of diversity and representation within resources that are accessible to practicing teachers, such as state standards, children’s literature, films, and local historical sites. Whether it be disrupting dominant narratives, analyzing the role of whiteness, critically evaluating avoidance of LGBTQ topics, or exploring religious freedom, “the knowledge she shares is of utmost importance to practicing teachers, as well as our pre-service teachers,” stated Hone.

Buchanan has written and received two Winter Term Teaching Innovation Grants from the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning in the past three years and two Community Partnership Initiative awards through the Kernodle Center for Civic Life that went toward community engagement with the Alamance-Burlington School System to offer a book club for educators that reflects on the role of identity in their work with students through literature.

In addition, Buchanan is currently mentoring 11 undergraduate research students across the graduating classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025.

“While she has accomplished an extremely impressive scholarship agenda, her teaching has not wavered. Our students leave her courses forever changed by her impact,” said Hone.

Faculty Excellence for Service

Cherrel Miller Dyce, associate professor of education and executive director of diversity, equity, and inclusion

Cherrel Miller Dyce, associate professor of education and executive director of diversity, equity, and inclusion

In her nomination, Heidi Hollingsworth, associate professor of education, shared, “Cherrel champions equity and social justice in all of her endeavors.” Holding certifications from the Intercultural Development Institute and as an Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), Dyce brings qualifications – along with broad and deep expertise on racial justice, social justice education, education inequities, and family and community engagement – in her work with the Intercultural Learning Certificate Program (ILCP).

“The impact of the ILCP is evident at each ILCP graduation when we are able to see students reflecting upon the growth that have experienced through the program,” said Jeff Carpenter, professor of education and director of Teaching Fellows.

“Dr. Miller Dyce developed an opportunity for all of us to dive deeper into ourselves, our identities, and so much more,” Carpenter said. “I never once thought of my identities before and their impacts – but the ILCP forced me to. I am forever grateful for that,” said Sofie Ricca ’24.

“We have greatly benefited from Cherrel’s service to us as faculty and staff in the Equity Café where we heard from experts on highly relevant topics such as student mental health and awareness and engaging first-generation students. We even embarked on a field trip to Alamance Community College. The Equity Café provides a safe space for us to share concerns and challenges in community with colleagues and also helps us to question and improve our practices,” said Hollingsworth.

In addition to the service she provides to Elon, Dyce provides service outside of the institution where she serves on Governor Cooper’s Developing a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education (DRIVE) Task Force, focused on recruiting, retaining and supporting BIPOC educators.

Faculty Excellence for Leadership

Marna Winter, senior lecturer in education and department chair for education and wellness

Marna Winter, senior lecturer in education and chair of the Department of Education and Wellness

In her nomination, Carol Smith, professor of education, shared, “I have taught in higher education for 38 years including the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M University, Black Hills State University, and Elon. Over those years, I have had the privilege to work with several amazing folks, not always in the role of chairperson. In all my time, I would have to rank Marna as first or second on that list.”

Serving as the department chair for seven years and overseeing advising to registration, managing seven majors and seven minors with numerous curriculum changes, supporting licensure and non-licensure faculty, attending workshops to expand her knowledge, advising students in undergraduate research, volunteering in the community, and more, “Marna provides immeasurable service to the department, school and university,” said Smith. One colleague noted that “Marna embodies all that is good in the department. She operates from a student-centered stance, strives to improve every aspect of our collective work, empowers and advocates for the faculty and does this all with the utmost care and compassion.” Another said “Marna has been a stellar leader and example for us. She is so compassionate and genuine.”