College of Education and Health Professions Underscores Commitment Through WE CARE

Eleanor Mann School of Nursing students recently participated in Nurses Day at the Arkansas State Capitol.
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Eleanor Mann School of Nursing students recently participated in Nurses Day at the Arkansas State Capitol.

The College of Education and Health Professions continues to show its commitment to Arkansas through projects funded by the dean's WE CARE initiative.

Over the past eight months, more than 60 projects have been funded through the wellness and education initiative, from today's Nursing Science Day event to a student-led Human Resource Development Summit that provided opportunities for students and alums to network and connect.

Team Up for Education and Health

Among projects funded in the Team Up for Education and Health category is WE CARE+Wellness, which was initiated by an interdisciplinary faculty team. David Christian, who teaches in the college's Counselor Education and Supervision program, said the funds will allow the team to develop and implement a wellness program for Arkansas Teacher Corps fellows.

A recent survey of teachers in the Arkansas Teacher Corps — an outreach program in the college that recruits, trains, licenses and supports non-traditional Arkansas teachers — revealed a critical need for preventative and intervention mental health programming to help prevent burnout and exit from teaching, the grant noted. It also cited a recent Gallup poll that K-12 teachers have the highest burnout rate of all industries in the U.S.

"The team will deliver training to 40 ATC teachers on the IS-WEL model of wellness and receive support implementing it in their lives over the course of a school year," Christian said.

Field Advancement

Last month, the Human Resource and Workforce Development Program held the inaugural Human Resource Development Summit: Reach and Renew event, funded in the Field Advancement category. The student-led event, with support from faculty members Jim Maddox and Aynur Charkasova, featured world-renowned keynote speakers, a panel discussion on timely human resource and workforce development issues, doctoral student poster sessions and breakout sessions on topics including talent development, DEI initiatives, training and development issues, and organization development and change management.

Online graduate students in the program met in person for the first time at the summit. The program provided opportunities for students and alums to network and connect with recruiters and area professionals. About 70 people attended the event in person, with 10 people joining remotely. The summit, the first of its kind for the program, provided students the chance to bridge theory with practice and connect with industry-leading experts and local practitioners sharing current trends and industry practices.

Today, April 27, the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing will host an inaugural Nursing Science Day with funding from WE CARE. The poster session and symposium is framed by the theme, "Optimizing and transforming health and healthcare delivery outcomes through nursing discovery, research and scholarship." The symposium also features nationally and internationally known nurse scientist speakers. They will present research topics applied within the Translational Science spectrum. The keynote speaker is Elizabeth Tarlov, Ph.D., R.N., director of the National Institute of Nursing Research's Division of Extramural Science Programs at the National Institutes of Health.

Student Field Experiences

One of the projects funded through the Student Field Experiences category was for nine senior Career and Technical Education program students who are interning in area schools. The experience was designed to advance their leadership capacity and engage students in actively exploring Arkansas' history. 

Students and faculty member Sheri Deaton served as lead consultants and judges for the state's Family, Career and Community Leaders of America's Students Taking Action with Recognition (STAR) events. Betsy Orr, associate professor of career and technical education, was responsible for a U of A recruitment booth at the event. This year's STAR event attracted more than 600 participants from across the state. The group met Ross White, the Arkansas Department of Education's Career and Technical Education director. Students also toured the Arkansas State Capitol and watched the House and Senate in action. Later, the group learned about the Little Rock Nine, participating in a two-hour walking tour, tracing the steps and the events that led to the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. "The trip was impactful and important for all parties involved," Deaton said. "I am thankful to Dean Kate for this amazing opportunity for our students."

Another student field experience allowed Eleanor Mann School of Nursing students to participate in the Arkansas Nurses Association Nurses Day at the Arkansas State Capitol. They had the opportunity to learn from policy experts about current issues impacting the state's healthcare workforce and network with nurse leaders throughout the state. More than 400 nurses and faculty from across Arkansas attended the event.

We Care Together Programming

A project awarded in this category is DOPE! Diversifying our Public Educators. Faculty member Karmen Bell and J.L. Jennings, director of teacher field placement, received funding to start DOPE, a resource group for U of A students from diverse backgrounds on their way to becoming licensed K-12 teachers. The student success program aims to create a space for these teacher candidates to discuss challenges and celebrate their successes while receiving tailored professional development from community stakeholders. The overarching goal for DOPE is to support diverse teacher candidates by taking care of their academic and professional needs, which will positively contribute to candidates' persistence in their programs of study from admittance to graduation.

We Care Together Programming also included AED/CPR training this semester. Mamiseishvili wanted to equip faculty and staff to help one another or students in the event of an emergency. She extended the opportunity for a group to take University Recreation's American Red Cross CPR/AED and First Aid certification course at no cost. In addition to adult CPR, participants learned first aid and how to operate an automated external defibrillator, a medical device designed to analyze the heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock to restore it.

The college's faculty and staff continue to develop proposals to implement projects that advance innovative research, programming and statewide outreach efforts.

About the College of Education and Health Professions: The College of Education and Health Professions offers advanced academic degrees as well as professional development opportunities and learning communities in service to the education and health systems of Arkansas and beyond. The college provides the education and experiences for various professional roles, ranging from schoolteachers to educational leaders. Programs in adult and higher education, along with educational technology and sport management, offer a broad range of options. In addition to education-related opportunities, the college prepares nurses, speech-language pathologists, counselors, health educators and administrators, recreation professionals, rehabilitation counselors, and human performance researchers.


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