Wednesday, May 15, 2013

College of Education and Human Development Hosts Honors Convocation

The University of New Orleans College of Education and Human Development honored on Tuesday outstanding alumnae, faculty and scholars, as well as seven recently retired faculty.

The College's 40th Annual Honors Convocation was held Tuesday, May 14 at the Homer L. Hitt Alumni and Visitors Center on the lakefront campus. James Payne, the University's provost and vice president of academic affairs gave opening remarks. COEHD faculty and community members conferred awards.

Outstanding Alumna

The College's Outstanding Alumna Award went to Michelle Blouin-Williams, who serves as chief human capital officer for the Jefferson Parish School System under Superintendent John Meza. Meza has been charged with overhauling the school system and has publicly vowed to transform Louisiana's 52nd ranked school system to the best in the state.

Blouin-Wiliams serves as a member of the school system's senior leadership team. She was appointed to her position in July.

"As chief human capital officer, Blouin-Williams is essentially the school system's human resources director," The Times-Picayune reported in July. "But she also is in charge of recruiting and placing 'high-performing individuals' in all central office and school-based positions. A school system veteran, Blouin-Williams will oversee executive directors of human resources, recruitment and talent management."

Blouin-Williams, who earned a Master of Arts degree in the Science of Teaching from UNO in 2008, previously held several other positions in the Jefferson Parish Public School System, including: executive director of the Regional Network 1, secondary mathematics consultant and secondary mathematics instructional strategist. She has also taught for COEHD as an adjunct instructor.

Distinguished Dissertation

Sandra Ficker Vandercook received the College's Distinguished Dissertation Award for her doctoral dissertation, "Exploring the Relationship Between English Composition Teachers Beliefs and Written Feedback and Their Written Feedback Processes." Vandercook, who completed her dissertation in December, 2012, received her doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction. She also holds two masters degrees in education from UNO.

Her dissertation is "on the cutting edge of research into the theories, rhetoric and processes of providing freshmen writers feedback about their writing," said the COEHD awards committee in written remarks. "She grounded it in a masterful knowledge of writing process research and rhetorical theory to examine and elucidate the relationships between instructors' voiced theories, published principles and their writing of comments on students' papers."

Vandercook "has been an example of the consummate scholar while working on her dissertation," said the awards committee, which awarded Vandercook the honor based on her perseverance, dedication, creativity and service as an outstanding example of a committed educator.

"Like many, she kept all the balls in the air while completing her dissertation research: teacher of writing, professor, mother, collaborator, mentor to prisoners, reader, writer, adjunct and wife."

Recently Retired Faculty

Seven recently retired faculty, including the former provost, were honored for their service to the College of Education and Human Development. They were:

  • John Barnitz, who served 34 years in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction;
  • Mary Cronin, who served 31 years in the Department of Special Education and Habilitative Services;
  • Yvelyne Germain-McCarthy, who served 20 years in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction;
  • Louis Paradise, who served 29 years in the Department of Educational Leadership, Counseling and Foundations;
  • Randall Scott, who served 24 years in the Department of Special Education and Habilitative Services;
  • Lynette Silvestri, who served 35 years in the Department of Educational Leadership, Counseling and Foundations and
  • Charles Wellington, who spent 24 years in the Department of Special Education and Habilitative Services.

Academic Excellence

Nineteen undergraduate students received academic excellence awards for graduating cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude. The College also awarded 10 metropolitan area awards and nine College awards.


Read More

Honors Convocation Awards
Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent Announces Leadership Team, The Times-Picayune
Sandra Ficker Vandercook Dissertation