EPC Programs Host Free Webinar

Faculty, students, and staff are invited to attend a free Innovative Educators webinar titled “Dealing with Difficult and Disruptive Students in Online Classes” on Tuesday, October 2 from 1-2:15 p.m. If you are interested in attending the webinar or accessing the recording, please email Ms. Kristen Fowler at kfowle24@vols.utk.edu with the subject line EPC Webinar. Following vendor guidelines, Ms. Fowler will send the link to everyone who has contacted her a week prior to the event, then a week after the event she will send out a link to the recording – which will be accessible for a year.

This webinar is hosted by the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling’s Instructional Technology (IT Online), EdPsych Online, and Learning, Design, and Technology programs. For more information about the webinar, check out the Innovative Educators website.

April Baer

Alumni Spotlight: April Baer

School Counseling

April earned an MS with the School Counseling program in 2012 and currently lives in Knoxville, TN. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

  • Awarded Tenure from Knox County Schools, spring 2018
  • Coalition Member of the Year from the Metro Drug Coalition, 2016
  • On the Leadership Team at Richard Yoakley, since 2012
Current Occupation

School Counselor
Richard Yoakley School
Knox County, Tennessee

Personal Interests

My husband and I have taken up hiking in the last few years. We especially enjoy hiking in the nearby Smoky Mountains. So far, we have just done day hikes, but we plan to start camping in the future.

Another hobby of mine is making jewelry. I enjoy making jewelry from glass, stones, metals, and found objects. It’s a fun, creative outlet.

Future/Vocational Goals

I very much enjoy my role as the school counselor at Richard Yoakley School. I plan to stay in this role for the foreseeable future and continue to improve my school counseling program. One day, I might pursue a leadership position in the school system.

What would you tell an incoming student who joins the program?

I remember feeling welcomed and informed when starting the program. Our professors did a great job explaining expectations and program goals. I felt very prepared to complete assignments, and I also felt that I was cared about as a person. The school counseling program is rigorous with high standards and expectations, which is a great thing. I know I received a high quality education which prepared me for my current profession.

What is the best tidbit/find about Knoxville?

Two of my favorite things about Knoxville are the Market Square Farmer’s Market and the trails at Ijams Nature Center. The market is a great place to buy local produce as well as crafts, and Ijams Nature Center is a beautiful place to be in nature yet still close to the city.

Summer 2018 Graduates & Certificate Recipients

The Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling wants to congratulate the graduates from nine of our programs who earned their degrees and recipients from four of our graduate certificate programs who completed necessary requirements during the summer 2018 semester.

To see photos of our recent graduates, please go to the “EPC Graduates” album on our EPC Facebook page.

Carly Ann Chwat
PhD in School Psychology

Synthia Ann Alene Clark
MS in Education – Instructional Technology
Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching & Learning

Deepa Rajiv Deshpande
PhD in Education – Learning Environments & Educational Studies

Jaewoo Do
PhD in Education – Learning Environments & Educational Studies

Sheryse Noelle Grant Dubose
PhD in Education – Learning Environments & Educational Studies

Katherine Ellen Fleming
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Ashlee Nicole Fugate
MS in Educational Psychology – Applied Educational Psychology

Holly Jean Greene
Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching & Learning

Caroline Marie Jaquett
PhD in School Psychology

Frederick Joseph Kelly
MS in Education – Instructional Technology
Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching & Learning

Jonathan Edward Kelly
MS in Education – Instructional Technology
Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching & Learning

Raymond Rodney Kimmitt
MS in Educational Psychology – Adult Education

Lauren Brooke Leonard
MS in Counseling – School Counseling

Rachael Camille Marshall
PhD in Counselor Education
Graduate Certificate in Grief, Loss & Trauma
Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research Methods in Education

Anthony C. Miller
MS in Counseling – School Counseling

Charles Branton Mitchell
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Desiree P. Nicholas
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Leslie Renee Owle
MS in Education – Instructional Technology
Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching & Learning

Kelley Nicole Rieder
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Jonah Lee Ruddy
PhD in School Psychology

Gwendolyn Sue Ruttencutter
PhD in Educational Psychology & Research – Adult Learning

Yacob Tewolde Tekie
Graduate Certificate in Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

Taralyn Page Tibbits
MS in Counseling – School Counseling

Kathryn Claire Ward
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Nathan Bobby West
PhD in Counselor Education

Samantha Ellen Williams
MS in Counseling – School Counseling

Rebecca Leigh Witowski
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

*If you are one of the graduates listed above and would like to have your photo added to our EPC Graduates Facebook album, then please email your picture to Synthia Clark sclark41@utk.edu.

**If you were an Educational Psychology and Counseling student who graduated during this time frame, yet have unintentionally been omitted from this list, please send your name, degree, and major/concentration to Synthia Clark sclark41@utk.edu. We will add you to the list after receiving this information from you and confirming your graduation status.

Lindsey Leffew

Instructional Technology

Lindsey earned an MS with the Instructional Technology program in 2016 and currently lives in Littleton, CO. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Instructional Design Coordinator
Child Care Quality Initiatives
Office of Early Childhood
Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS)

I work in a team of two (hopefully four by the end of the year) to design self-paced online learning for the Colorado Shines Professional Development Information System (PDIS). These courses are targeted at early care and learning professionals, with the goal of increasing the quality of care and education provided in child care programs across the state.

Accomplishments since Graduating

In my first nine months at CDHS, I led development on the first hybrid course to exist in the PDIS: Medication Administration Training, a four hour, licensing required course for child care providers across the state of Colorado. Also, at the end of December 2017, my husband and I bought our first house.

Personal Interests

I’m a fiction writer in all my waking hours. A baker, an amateur painter, a paddle boarder, an always-losing-my-callouses guitarist, a gamer, a yoga aficionado, and a literature/media nerd. I also like to travel with my husband and spend time with our four cats.

Accomplishments Earned as a Student

I received invitations from several honors societies (Gamma Beta Phi, Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delti Pi), so I suppose that means I made it to a top tier of my class.

On a personal level, I maintained my grade level, kept interest in my classes, and didn’t crumble under pressure – even when I was finalizing my portfolio while packing our place and preparing for a cross country move – so I’d consider that an accomplishment.

Did you end up where you thought you would?

Yes. I’d been in the eLearning world prior to entering the IT Online program and that’s where I wanted to be once I got my degree. Though instead of working for a vendor, I ended up on an in-house design team (of two and soon to be growing), so this let me drastically expand my skills with project management, authoring software, and the creation of graphics and audio, in addition to writing content.

How did your experiences as a student help you in your professional life after graduation?

When I came to the program, I didn’t really speak the lingo of instructional design and technology (“dual coding, what’s that?”), so the foundational knowledge was helpful when talking about the work I’d done in the past, as well as in the first few months of being on the job.

Additionally, as a student, you deal with a lot of different personalities from a variety of backgrounds and not all of those personalities have technology backgrounds. Getting experience navigating the waters of instructional design with people outside my specific area was good practice for the job I’m doing now. While many people are happy to listen to and go with what a designer has to say, others do want additional information on why you’re making the design choices you are. Having had to explain or clarify design concepts in my classes gave me a leg up on doing so out in the working world.

What would you tell incoming/current students?

If you’re new to the world of instructional design and technology, start thinking about what you want to do within the field. You’ll learn a lot of foundational knowledge about education and how people learn in the program, and you’ll get familiar with the technical jargon, but there are a variety of ways to apply that knowledge out in the world and a varying set of skills for each area. Having an idea of where you want to be so you can direct your individual studies in that direction is immensely helpful for your future career.

Erica Echols

Student Spotlight: Erica Echols

Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

Erica is currently seeking her PhD in educational psychology and research with the Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement program. Originally from Blairs, VA, she graduated with her BS in chemistry at North Carolina A&T State University in 2005 and an MS in environmental science and policy at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in 2009. She joined the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and EPC in 2016. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

  • UT Graduate Student Senate Travel Award, Fall 2017


  • Echols, E., Ladd, R., Parlier, R. T., Osborne, J. D. (2018). Distance learning in evaluation, statistics, and measurement: Synchronous & asynchronous – A guide to merging your life as an evaluation doctoral student and distance learner. Roundtable presentation submitted for the American Evaluation Association National Conference, 2018, Cleveland, OH (under review).
  • Osborne, J. D., Ladd, R., Parlier, R. T., Echols, E. (2017). Am I a student? Am I an evaluator? I’m both! – A guide to merging your life as a professional evaluator and evaluation doctoral student. Roundtable presentation at the American Evaluation Association National Conference, 2017, Washington, D.C.
  • Echols, E. (2016). Outcomes evaluation proposal for the Program for Excellence and Equity in Research (PEER). Poster presentation given for EDPY 533 Program Evaluation Fall 2016 at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
  • Echols, E. (2016). Survey of best practices for graduate recruitment of underrepresented minorities (URM) in STEM at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Poster presentation given for EDPY 583 Survey Research.

Erica Echols presenting at SECME

Current Occupation

Recruitment & Communication Specialist
Program for Excellence & Equity in Research
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Erica currently works as the recruitment and communications specialist for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville NIH funded graduate and training fellowship program, Program for Excellence and Equity in Research.

Personal Interests

I enjoy being active in the community. I volunteer with various programs that introduce urban youth to science, science careers, and higher education. I also enjoy playing a variety of musical instruments.

Future/Vocational Goals

My goals are to continue to learn frameworks that are applicable not only in my current position but also in future higher education pursuits. My interest in evaluation and assessment stems from work experience in gauging the impact and progress of students matriculating through various programs I’ve worked with in higher education. As I continue to grow my skills in statistical analysis and program evaluation, my long-term career goal is to own and operate my own consulting firm supporting external evaluations for various higher education, public service, and non-profit entities.

What sold you on this program?

I work full time here at UT and was looking for a doctoral program that aligns with my research interests in evaluation and assessment in higher education, with special interest in understanding workforces that lead to student success in STEM. The Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement program was a perfect fit for me and my interests.

What would you tell an incoming student who joins the program/department?

While it is important to begin with the end in mind, be sure to enjoy the journey.

GOI Hosts Inaugural Camp Aliya

This was the inaugural year for Grief Outreach Initiative’s (GOI) Camp Aliya. The camp was named after the little girl who started it all – the child Dean Rider read to one year around Mother’s Day. Her mother had died, and Dean Rider was so struck by her and by the needs of children, especially in Title I schools who might need help with grief, but couldn’t access mental health services. This inspired him to create GOI in 2008. Laura Wheat, assistant professor, became the coordinator of GOI in 2014.

At Camp Aliya, children spent their time in small and large groups, outside, and being involved in music, arts, and crafts. Here are some of their activities:

  • They constructed and guided each other through obstacle courses made of yarn, relating the difficulties of the course to the grieving process and discussing the role of others in helping you get through the process.
  • Campers played sorting games to distinguish between helpful and unhelpful coping behaviors.
  • They had the opportunity to depict their story of grief however they wanted. Some children wrote stories, other drew pictures, then if they were comfortable they shared them with the group.
  • The children made body drawings in chalk to label different feelings they have related to their grief.
  • Campers wrote down things they felt afraid to share on pieces of paper, crumbled them into balls, and threw them back and forth. They talked about what it was like for others to physically hold our fears and troubles. After they were comfortable, everyone anonymously opened one of the balled up fears to read allowed, and they found that many of the fears were similar, despite different stories.

Camp Aliya Staff

Wheat ran Camp Aliya with 10 other staff members comprised who are current students, recent alumni, and/or community members. Wheat explained, “We intentionally kept the camp small and time-limited this year to make sure we knew what we were doing! I hope very much to secure grant funding to keep it going annually and expand from elementary-age kids to any school-age kid. I also hope that in the future we can develop and implement a trauma-focused therapeutic element as well, perhaps based on Allison Salloum’s work (Grief and Trauma in Children: An Evidence-Based Treatment Manual).”

“I am so thankful to be in a place that is supportive of programming that focuses on child and adolescent grief. It still feels a little bit magical to me, even four years later, that I get to do this work.”

When asked how it felt to to initiate and complete Camp Aliya, Wheat said the following: “It felt AMAZING!!  It was a really daunting task, and it felt at times like climbing a mountain.  But I was lucky to have Jillian Blueford, Counselor Education student, who was a huge help.  She and I designed and implemented the whole thing together, so seeing it run those two days was incredible. We had the best, most energetic, creative, and heart-filled staff, and such great care from the folks at Pond Gap.  I took some of the staff out for celebratory apps at Fieldhouse Social afterwards to thank them for their commitment and enthusiasm. However small it was with only 11 campers, I know we put some good in the world, and that’s what matters most to me. I could see some of the campers really benefiting. I even heard an anecdote via Jillian the other day, who reported that one of the campers’ caregivers had told her that he still wears the support bracelet he made at camp and talks about it all the time.”

To see photos from the inaugural Camp Aliya, check out the EPC Facebook page! Also, keep an eye out for the next edition of Accolades for an in-depth story about Camp Aliya.

Thacker Selected as SACES Emerging Leader

Nancy E. Thacker, doctoral candidate in Counselor Education, has been selected as one of the 2018-20 Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (SACES) Emerging Leaders.

Nancy Thacker“I feel very honored to have been selected as a SACES Emerging Leader. This program will provide invaluable opportunities to develop my leadership identity and skills, collaborate with social advocates across our region, and serve our profession. I am beyond excited to get started this coming fall!”

The SACES Emerging Leaders program is a two-year leadership development experience focused on advocacy and promotion of community through connection, leadership, and service. Emerging Leaders will participate in a workshop and be recognized at the SACES 2018 conference, engage in 40 hours of service, collaborate in quarterly small group mentoring, and be part of large group experiences during the SACES 2019 and 2020 conferences.

Thacker said, “I am very grateful to our Counselor Education faculty for their encouragement and guidance. Their passion and commitment to the advancement of our profession has inspired me to develop similar zeal for social justice and advocacy in Counselor Education. I am stepping into this leadership opportunity because of their influence and consistent validation of my work and identity as an emerging Counselor Educator. Also to my colleagues, thank you for showing me what hard work, humility, and true collaboration looks like. I will enter the SACES Emerging Leaders program ready to connect, collaborate, and advocate for change because of your example.”

Cassandra Dawn Mosley

Alumni Spotlight: Cassandra Mosley
Adult Education

Cassandra earned an MS with the Adult Education program in 2017. She is originally from Atlanta, GA and currently lives in Knoxville, TN. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Accounting Specialist III
Office of the Bursar
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN

I currently work for the Bursar, Susan Forman, at UT Knoxville.

Accomplishments since Graduating

Greatest professional accomplishment since graduation has been the opportunity to work one-on-one with the Bursar to assist with daily duties of the position. I am beyond blessed to have a boss that completely supported me while I obtained my master’s. After finishing the program, I requested to learn more of the daily operations of the Bursar, and my boss has spent a great amount of time teaching me new programs, especially those in Banner. She continuously provides me opportunities to further my knowledge and enhance my career.

Personal Interests

Cassandra Mosley with husbandMy husband and I enjoy traveling and when we have the opportunity on the weekends we like to engage in short excursions and enjoy local culture. My parents are very close to my husband, I have to admit that he is their favorite child, and quite often they come with us on our trips. This gives us all the opportunity to spend quality time together, including going to church together on Sundays.

Accomplishments Earned as a Student

While conducting research for my final comps, I centered my topic on the transformative learning experiences of veteran students involved in combat. I have the upmost respect for the men and women who serve our country. My husband, father, uncle and great uncle are all Veterans. One of my greatest accomplishments was being able to interview a University of Tennessee veteran student that was an Army combat medic. To hear their experiences, how it related to their learning and helping others learn was one of the most rewarding experiences during my program.

What would you tell an incoming/current student?

Going into the program, my first thought was that I would come to know more about how adults learn so that it would help me create a successful learning environment in my position at the University of Tennessee. Teaching in the Atlanta Metropolitan School District gave me the experience to learn how culture and backgrounds influence learning, but only on a small scale. This program has introduced to me a worldly, holistic view of learning. Teaching at a public school system was just barely scraping the surface of what adult education would entail. After two years in the program, I have learned how the principles of adult education originated, how adult learning models and theories can facilitate learning, and how as individuals we can take all of our experiences and meanings and contribute to a successful learning environment both in and outside of the classroom.

The one thing that has remained constant is I have always viewed educators as individuals who love learning. This still remains true in higher adult education, but I have a new respect for adult educators. It is those in this field who love learning on a level that they have invested a great deal of time and research to help adult education learners. I realize that this program was never about changing the way we think because of curriculum, it was allowing us as individuals to be presented with new ideas, concepts, and experiences to help us facilitate our own learning. Everyone has a story, a journey, that has brought them to this program. We all have vast backgrounds, experiences, ideas, concepts, and thoughts that can contribute to learning. The key of this program was allowing us to come to our own understanding of what all of it meant for us individually.

How did your experiences as a student help you in your professional/personal life after graduation?

One learning experience that was particularly important to me was studying the movements in adult education in Cathy Hammon’s, clinical assistant professor, course “Survey of Adult Education”. It was interesting to see how adult education developed over time from the works of Socrates and Plato, to the modernist view of adult education. During my undergrad, I researched the Renaissance period due to its rich history of literature and art that resonated during that time. It was in Hammon’s course that I would learn the influence of that particular era on modern andragogy in practice. In humanistic adult education, what really stood out to me was one of the thought leaders; Martin Luther. As a Christian, my religion came from the Protestant Reformation initiated by Martin Luther. During my adolescent years, I learned about the Protestant Reformation but did not connect it to humanistic adult education. This was a very personal moment for me in the adult learning environment; to connect my religion to adult education. All of a sudden, I was able to connect something that is a very deep, personal belief for me to its importance in adult education.

Did you end up where you thought you would?

Currently at my position at the University of Tennessee, I have been putting into place the ideas and concepts that I have learned in this program. During Qi Sun’s, associate professor, course, “Facilitating Change in the Educational Environment”, we learned that we can take a look outside the box if we have a barrier in the educational environment to understand the reasons why an individual views change as positive or negative. By understanding how the individual views their experiences and how they have resonated with their critical reflection of their experience, we can facilitate a successful learning or workplace environment. On a daily basis, we come across individuals that seem to create a barrier in the workplace or learning environment. At first, it may seem easy to be discouraged. However, putting in place the concepts and ideas I have learned in this program helps me understand why others view certain aspects as positive or negative from their experiences.

Cassandra Mosley graduation photo in front of Neyland Stadium

“This program has a been a road; there were some smooth stretches, bumpy rides, some curves, some twists, some obstacles, but it was all leading to somewhere. A destination unlike any other, not a specific destination, but one that encompassed knowledge all along the path. It was not about where I was going, a specific mark; it was about the journey, about what I learned. This program was never about finding answers, it was about losing the questions and finding your own learning. One important aspect that I have learned in this program is that learning is life-long, it is a continuous journey. It does not stop because we reach a certain age or we graduate. All the lessons in life that are accumulated from the time of birth, are on-going and every experience contributes to our overall learning.”

2018 EPC Student Orientation

EPC Student Orientation 2018. When: Tuesday, August 21. Where: Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) Building on 1914 Andy Holt Avenue. The Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling (EPC) is hosting a group orientation session with free pizza and drinks for incoming and current students, faculty, and staff. Many individual programs will also have breakout orientation sessions on the same day. Please see the schedule below. Schedule of EPC Orientation Sessions: Counselor Education 2 to 4pm in HPER 232, Learning Environments and Educational Studies 3 to 4pm in HPER 243, School Psychology 1 to 4pm in HPER 239, EPC Group Orientation 4:15 to 5:30pm in HPER 235/239, Adult Learning 5:30 to 7:30pm in HPER 239, Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling 5:30 to 6:30pm in HPER 232, Evaluation Statistics and Measurement 5:30 to 7:30pm in HPER 243, Instructional Technology 5:30 to 7:30pm in HPER 235

RSVP to EPC’s Facebook event!

Contact Parking and Transit Services for information about parking.

Be sure to check out UT’s interactive map for directions, but the image below shows where orientation session will be held in relation to our departmental offices.