COE News Archive

Project Operate : 2018

Monday, February 6th, 2017

(Online Preparation of Educators and Researchers in Autism who Teach Effectively)

Accelerated, Fully Online Master’s Degree Program at

Florida International University


Participants will earn a Master of Science (MS) degree in Special Education, leading to the State of Florida endorsement in ASD

Full tuition funding will be provided to a cohort of 9 students. Students will begin the program in August 2018 and graduate in August 2019.

This is a fast-paced, intense online program. Students are required to pay for their own textbooks and complete a service obligation requirement.

Minimal admissions requirements for consideration include:

  • Current certification in Special Education
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Information Session April 7th, 2018 10:00am
  • Green Library 100, FIU MMC Campus
  • Virtual Presentation also available

(In-person attendance is preferred; Interviews will take place on site for those in attendance.)

For more information about this degree program visit:

To apply, please RSVP to Xiuyuan Yang at

A link to the virtual session will be sent to those indicating that preference.

Fall 2016 is a wrap!

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Dear friends and colleagues,

As the semester comes to a close, I have been honored to work with faculty, staff, students, and alumni on what was a productive year in the School of Education and Human Development. In the short time I have served as executive director, I have developed a stronger appreciation for the commitment our faculty and staff have for our students, and for the leadership they demonstrate within their respective professions. Congratulations to our 2016 graduates! Our students continue to show they are among the best and the brightest.

Here are some other bright spots of 2016:

Five Art Education alumni received top honors at this year’s Florida Art Education Conference in Naples and Abdiel Acosta, a student in our Art Education Master’s program won first place at the Coconut Grove Art Festival and the FIU Provost Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Creative Project.

Our Fall Career Fair helped more than 100 students connect and network with school districts throughout Florida and from the East Coast.

In November, we welcomed more than 400 Future Educators of America members and teachers from high schools in Miami-Dade, Broward, Lee and Collier counties for our annual FEA conference, which offers high school students an opportunity to interact, network, and learn from leaders in education, peers and college students while highlighting the many advantages of a career in education. 

Our fall graduates now join a strong network of more than 26,000 leaders and we encourage you to stay connected, through alumni events and ongoing community activities.

We hope you had a great 2016 and on behalf of the School of Education and Human Development I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year!


Laura Dinehart
Executive Director
School of Education and Human Development

Colleges of Education, Arts & Sciences merge

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Dear Students and Alumni,

I am so pleased to share with all of you the exciting year we have had!  Your College of Education has merged with the College of Arts & Sciences to provide us with an even greater opportunity to confront the challenges that we face in education and beyond.  As students and alumni of the School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) within the College of Arts, Sciences & Education, you can be proud of where your school is today! 

It is a great honor for me to have been appointed as interim executive director.  During my short tenure in this position, I can tell you among the most rewarding parts of my job is listening to students and alumni tell their success stories and learning how FIU’s School of Education and Human Development played a role in where they are today.

To keep you up to date on what’s happening in your school, we have created a SEHD newsletter which will show up in your inbox soon. I am so excited about all the wonderful accomplishments and activities going on here that I can’t wait for you to receive it!

I look forward to your feedback. To our alumni, I want to hear all about where you are today and what you are doing. To promote this effort, we have created a hashtag just for you. Tweet us with #FIUSEHDALUMNI and tell us how we influenced you! Keep us posted!


Laura Dinehart
Interim Executive Director

SEHD offers new online graduate Teacher Leadership Certificate

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Teacher Leadership Certificate

If you’re looking to branch out from the classroom, FIU’s fully-online Teacher Leadership Graduate Certificate could help you grow into a leadership position in as little as four months.

Designed for teachers who work full time, the fully-online certificate program in the School of Education and Human Development can be completed in the Fall or Spring semester, when it’s most convenient for you.

Upon completion, graduates are highly qualified to work as resource providers, instructional or curriculum specialists, mentors, school team leaders or data coaches.

Coursework can also be applied toward a master’s or education specialist’s degree program in educational leadership.

For additional information click here, or for questions on admission to the spring semester, please contact

Program of Study
EDA 6192 – Leadership in Education
EDA 6195 – Communication in Educational Leadership
EDA 6503 – Instructional Leadership
EDA 6928 – Special Topics: School Improvement
EDA 7943 – Field Projects

Admissions Requirements
Applicant Letter/Statement of Intent
Two Letters of Recommendation
Florida Department of Education Educator Certificate
Click here for Graduate Admissions deadlines

Doctoral student keeps students interested in STEM

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Remy Photo 2

When Remy Dou began teaching high school biology, he reveled in seeing his best and brightest students understand challenging concepts.

Thanks to a mentor, he soon realized that approach was all wrong.

“For teachers, we see the most engaged students and we take their success as a sign of our great teaching skills because you see the results right away and it feels good,” Dou, 33, said. “When you target the least-engaged students, it forces you to bring out out whatever skills you have to get that student motivated and learning something.”

What worked for Dou, a Curriculum and Instruction doctoral student in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education, was developing closer relationships with students.

Talking to his students and attending their sporting events, for example, got them to take more interest in class and ultimately to get better grades, Dou said.

It’s that combination of the social and the scientific that Dou has made the focus of his doctoral research because as the global economy has shifted more toward the technical and scientific, he wants more students to find and keep those lucrative jobs.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the demand for jobs in the Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields is strong.

The number of jobs in STEM fields are projected to grow by 17 percent or roughly twice as fast as non-STEM occupations through 2018. STEM workers also command salaries that are 26 percent higher than non-STEM jobs, according to the Department of Commerce.

FIU, where more than 11,500 students major in STEM fields, has made significant commitments to improving STEM education. President Mark B. Rosenberg was recently named chairman of a National Academy of Sciences committee to develop benchmarks and tracking tools for STEM education.

The College of Arts, Sciences & Education is also home to FIUTeach, a secondary STEM teacher preparation initiative, and the STEM Transformation Institute, which has reshaped the way science courses are taught throughout the university.

Six science courses are taught in two state-of-the-art active learning classrooms, where professors eschew the traditional lecture model and students collaborate with one another to tackle scientific challenges hands-on.

It’s in these classrooms where Dou conducts his research.

“Seeing value in relationships led me to focus on looking at relationships in the classroom in my research and the impact of relationships between students and instructors,” Dou said. “It’s a social justice issue, for me. I want students of all backgrounds to have the ability to pursue STEM careers where employment is more secure and they can earn higher level salaries.”

According to the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), today’s STEM work force is not as diverse as it could be.

Women and minorities make up a fraction of today’s STEM work force. Women, for example, make up 48 percent of the work force, yet they account for only 23 percent of all STEM employees. The numbers are worse for blacks and Hispanics, who represent a mere 12 percent of STEM workers, according to NMSI.

The question Dou and other researchers are asking is how can educators help students maintain and develop an interest in science fields that will help them continue on in science careers.

“What we’ve seen in our modeling instruction courses is students interacting with one another,” Dou said. “Success depends on how students interact with one another – it doesn’t always mean that you’re the person who is speaking. You also have to listen, participate and be engaged. These classes are designed so that those things happen naturally.”

Dou, who won a recent student poster competition held by the American Association for the Advancement on Science, is continuing to work on identifying the intangibles that will ultimately help students succeed in STEM.


Teaching, not testing makes better students

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

Teaching is more than just assembling a series of best practices that are expected to lead students to perfect standardized test scores.

According to an article published by Assistant Professor James Burns, who joined FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education faculty in January, teachers should be lifelong learners who inspire their students to take a critical view of the world around them.

Teachers and teacher educators can do this by:

  • Developing an understanding of teaching and learning as a lifelong process
  • Focusing learning on critical thinking, curiosity, sharing ideas and igniting emotions
  • Relying less on routine, formulaic ways of teaching
  • Focusing less on teaching students to “bank” knowledge
  • Developing a culturally sustaining curriculum that encourages community building, dialogue and democracy

“When we look at education as if it were a consumer good that we purchase to get something else, we’re thinking of it as a private benefit rather than a public good.” said Burns, who earned the Distinguished Research in Teacher Education Award from the Association of Teacher Educators due to his work on “Countering the Essentialized Discourse of Teacher Education.” The work was published recently in the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.

“This view of education is very reductive – it resembles to me a regime of discipline,” he added. “What kind of adults will we produce if we’re churning out children like they’re cogs in a machine?”

According to the study, policy makers have instituted a wave of educational standards and increased standardized testing across the board since the 1970s, leaving little room for students and teachers to do anything other than follow prescribed lessons that have reframed education as work force training.

Teacher education has failed to consistently challenge that trend and the assumptions behind it, Burns said. Theorists from John Dewey to Paulo Freire have warned that instrumental education ultimately creates adults who lack the critical consciousness necessary to a vibrant democracy such as empathy, compassion, and commitment to participatory public values, according to the research.

Increasingly, states and the federal government have relied on standardized tests to determine school funding and, now, teacher pay.

Even higher education is not immune. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 32 states including Florida have instituted a performance-based funding model for colleges and universities and five more are in the process of developing a performance-funding system.

Burns and his colleagues argue that despite 40 years of tougher, punitive standards, increased data collection, and the marginalization of teachers, it’s not too late to move away from what they call the “Wal-Marting of teacher education.”

To bring the educational system back into focus, the researchers call on teachers and teacher educators to publicly criticize the minimalist and flawed assumptions they say have driven education policy.

In Miami-Dade County, there’s already a shift taking place. For example, the school district’s superintendent has already cut back on more than 300 exams. Nationally, President Obama has called for testing to be capped at 2 percent of classroom time.

Burns, for one, is helping his graduate and undergraduate students develop the mindset of being part of a holistic teaching and learning environment where students can have more opportunities for reflection, inquiry and self-directed learning that inspires creativity.

“What I do in my classroom is use a pedagogy of counter-narrative,” he said. “We devote time to discussing how my students view themselves as teachers, what their values are, what their larger social role will be – but this will be hard work for them to continue once they enter their own classrooms.

“They’ll be under pressure from their schools, and they’re being evaluated by the state, which will use ‘metrics of accountability’ that have nothing to do with truly educating a child,” he added.

Online Master of Special Education Info Session

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Join us Feb. 6 for an information session for our accelerated fully online master’s degree in Special Education leading to a state of Florida endorsement in ASD.

The session will be held in room 100 of the Green Library at the MMC Campus from 10am to 2pm live and virtually.

Students will begin the fast-paced, intense, online program in August 2016 and will graduate 12 months later in August 2017.

Full tuition funding will be provided to a cohort of nine students through the Project Operate grant. However, students are required to pay for their own textbooks and will be expected to meet a service obligation requirement.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Current certification in Special Education
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • Three letters of recommendation

Please RSVP for the session to receive the virtual link, to receive an application, and to apply for Project Operate funding by sending an email to

For more information on the fully online Master of Science in Special Education program, click here.

Prepare students for GK Test

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

We are offering workshops and study sessions that can help our students learn the resources and skills necessary to perform well on the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations: General Knowledge Test. Passing the exam is a crucial step toward earning a Florida teacher certification and is a prerequisite to be fully admitted into any teacher preparation program.

PASS: Perfecting Assessment Success Skills – 2016 Workshop Series

April 8 | 3:30pm – 5pm | ZEB 212
Student Panel—Test Taking Tips

Learn the best strategies to study for, and be successful on, the General Knowledge Test from students who have recently passed.

PASS: Perfecting Assessment Success Skills – Study with a Buddy

Our ongoing study hall sessions provide a great way to prepare for the General Knowledge Test with other students. Tutors are available on the last Friday of the month to help with questions on each of the four GK sections: Math, English, Reading, and Essay. Make sure to attend one of the dates and times below.

Upcoming sessions:

April 29
3:30pm – 5pm in ZEB 212 (snacks will be provided).

For more information, contact the COE Advising Center in ZEB 220 or 305-348-2768.



Art education grads showcase work at Frost Art Museum

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

What’s the best graduation present you can ask for?

Well, if you’re an artist, how about your very own show at the Frost Art Museum?

The nine students graduating this fall from the master of art education program at the College of Education will have their works go on exhibit at the Frost beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, with the opening reception of the Master in Art Education Exhibition.

Each student is displaying works from their extensively researched master’s theses, where they used paintings and mixed-media art to convey their message and their grasp of technique.

Perhaps the most striking piece of art going on display is Jesús A. Garcia’s “Rebirth.”

Using a photo of California’s famous redwoods, he shot during a family trip as the background, Garcia painted himself in the foreground with arms outstretched and brilliant red wings sprouting from his back.

“There is tremendous power in that painting,” Garcia said. “I show you the way I see life, the way I fight all the obstacles life has given me. The red is the flame of the Phoenix, the fire, the power. It means no matter how hard life hits me, I will hit back.”

An avid artist and painter, Garcia survived a serious accident in 1991 that cost him part of his right arm and crippled his left arm. In 2012, one of his twin sons suffered a traumatic brain injury that affected his mobility and his ability to speak. Two years later, his wife, Melanie, battled a ravaging cancer that ultimately claimed a leg.

“The main thing that inspires me is my family,” he said. “I use that as an inspiration to keep going no matter how difficult times get.”


Ramon Oscar Lopez, one of Garcia’s classmates, also looked to his own life to inspire and inform his work.

His body of work focuses on his shifting roles throughout life and culminate on a reflection of his latest role: father to a 3-month-old son.

“A lot of the paintings illustrate the different roles I play: being a good husband, a good father and becoming a better person,” Lopez said. “And, in each painting, there is  little bit of magical realism because the environments where the figures find themselves are very specific and orchestrated. I wanted the work to combine realism, abstraction and energy.”

After researching Baroque masters, Melissa Carter first focused her work on vanity and the transience of time but thinking the theme was a bit ominous, she chose to include more hopeful messages inspired by Romantic landscape painters.


In her landscape painting, “Teach Us To Number Our Days,” Carter uses the sunset to present the idea that peace ultimately can be found at the end of one’s life, knowing his or her days were well-spent.

“It’s important for people to always be aware that time is fleeting so we don’t waste our time,” she said. “We should focus our lives on what matters.”

The Master of Art in Education Exhibition runs through Jan. 15.

Professor’s math games help preshoolers

Friday, December 11th, 2015


Learning math and numerical concepts can be a challenge for young children, but one early childhood professor is pioneering a series of how-to videos showing parents how they can use fun and simple games to help their preschoolers learn math.

Pre-K is an extremely important time for young children,” said Charles Bleiker, an early childhood education professor at FIU’s College of Education. “Introducing math concepts in a fun and engaging way can lead to long-term success in math and science. This in turn opens up a whole world of possibilities in the emerging science, technology, engineering and math careers.”

The three videos highlight a few of the games utilized in Bleiker’s NumberWays program.

The games focus on teaching children four key concepts: number equating, number naming, number sequence and number writing.

  • In the Bowling game, children learn number naming and number sequence.
  • In Kitty and Bear, children learn number counting.
  • In the Tracing Game, children learn number writing.

All three videos are available online at

Bleiker first shared his research during a 2014 TEDxFIU talk, where he showed how 4-year-olds increased their math readiness after playing the games for at least 15 minutes at a time over the course of a few months.

“The results are nothing less than amazing,” Bleiker said. “We’ve been successful because games are the most powerful and natural way that young children learn. Our games are easy enough so that parents, grandparents and siblings can play these games with almost no cost and little effort.”