Advanced Studies & Innovation – Augusta University College of Education Prepared, able, and responsive Mon, 25 Nov 2019 15:00:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Counseling grad student models AU values Mon, 25 Nov 2019 14:16:17 +0000 Counseling grad student Mariah Clay strives for excellence at Augusta University. Click here to read about her journey.

Join her in school counseling or clinical mental health counseling in the College of Education. Click here for more information about our counseling graduate programs.

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Student earns position on national advisory committee Mon, 30 Sep 2019 13:48:34 +0000 AUGUSTA, GA. – Tevin Middleton, a student in the Masters of Education in school counseling program in the College of Education, has been named a member of the National Education Association (NEA) Aspiring Educator’s National Advisory Committee.

“I was very excited to learn that I had been chosen,” Middleton said. “We’ll be working to identify and recommend strategies to increase access or participation for aspiring educators across the nation, looking to identify barriers that they face and overcome them. I hope we can increase equity in education.”

But after a grueling application and interview process, according to Dr. Paulette Harris, Cree-Walker Chair in Education, Middleton wasn’t just chosen. He stood out.

“He just has that, ‘I can do it, I can make things work, I can make things better,’ attitude,” she said.

Talking to Middleton is all it takes to understand Harris’ perspective. His passion for education, and the role of counselors in education elevates a conversation.

“We have a chance, as educators, to become what students need. And counselors can be a partner in meeting the needs of students,” Middleton said. “Ultimately, there’s a lot of alignment.”

Middleton’s undergraduate degree in social work (B.A., 2015), and his work experience in patient advocacy at AU Health lead him into counseling in search of a more individual connection with youth. But his personal experiences with role models he had in school helped lead him to a career in education.

“I realized what that did for me – the role model that was provided me in high school – and it led me to slowly increase my involvement in education,” Middleton said.

Harris thinks the explanation might be a bit different: “He comes from a family that wants education to be the best it can be. Sometimes it’s just in your blood.”

The NEA is the largest education organization in the United States, with 2.9 million members, representing public school employees, faculty and staff in higher education, retired educators and college students. The committee on which Middleton will serve is charged with recruitment, engagement strategies, community service projects and assisting in planning and staging the Student Leadership and Professional Development Conference.

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Kemp publishes compilation of stories, advice Fri, 16 Nov 2018 20:12:16 +0000 AUGUSTA, GA. – New faculty members often feel overwhelmed by change when they start their careers. There are colleagues to meet, research agendas to set, classes to manage, students to mentor, committees to chair and more. That first year can wreak havoc on their lives.

“No matter what support system you have, you have to figure out a lot of it yourself. It can be really lonely. It can tax relationships,” said Dr. Drew Kemp, professor in the Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation in Augusta University’s College of Education.

In an effort to help new faculty members survive and thrive in their new careers, Kemp has compiled a book of personal stories and advice from 89 faculty members across the U.S., Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. His book, “Dignity of the Calling: Educators Share the Beginnings of their Journeys,” examines common experiences, personal challenges and survival strategies for new faculty members.

The stories in “Dignity of the Calling” showcase the camaraderie and challenges of beginning a career in academia, while also providing comfort and guidance. Some of the stories are revealing, like the Latino faculty member mistaken by a colleague as a laborer. Others are more practical, providing steps to success. But each highlights and strategizes the specific challenges that come with a career in academia. For example, one professor lived in Michigan and took the only academic position open to her – in Minnesota. She commuted every two weeks for two years. One professor’s first job consisted of all online classes at three different campuses. And one new faculty member defended her doctoral dissertation, got her first job in academia and had a baby… all in the same year.

Kemp knows these challenges all too well, having taught in public schools for 10 years and having a family before he decided to pursue a career in higher education. And even after his first year, he found himself buffeted by unexpected trials. During the compilation and composition of this book, he lost both his wife and his father.

“I was writing this book about new beginnings when I realized that we don’t have just one beginning. We have multiple beginnings and challenges and each of them can set you down a new path or build on the one you have already begun,” Kemp said. Even as an experienced faculty member with tenure, Kemp is sometimes confronted with unfamiliar experiences and information, and he wants new faculty members to know this is universal. He referenced Socrates’ assertion that the wise man knows that he knows nothing.  “The more I know, the more I realize there is so much I don’t know. The important thing is to come to grips with what you’re good at and slowly build on that instead of worrying about everything you don’t know,” Kemp said.

“Dignity of the Calling” is available on pre-order from the publisher. Visit or

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Dr. Margaux Brown helps combat back-to-school jitters Fri, 31 Aug 2018 12:29:44 +0000 Dr. Margaux Brown, assistant professor of counseling, appeared on WJBF on Aug. 6 to talk about how parents and caregivers can help combat back-to-school jitters in their children.

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College names Karyn Warren 2018 Distinguished Alumna Wed, 18 Apr 2018 13:35:27 +0000 By Kashalah Robinson

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Karyn Warren has spent nearly 20 years in service to special education students in the Augusta area. A three-time graduate of Augusta University and special education classroom teacher at Greenbrier High School in Columbia County, she has been named the College of Education’s 2018 Distinguished Alumna. Warren will be honored during Alumni Weekend.

I am deeply honored to be named Distinguished Alumna,” Warren said. “When I applied for college, Augusta University was my only choice. And for every subsequent degree, I did not consider attending anywhere else.”

Warren first graduated from Augusta University in 1998 with a bachelor of science in education. Initially, she planned to teach high school history, but her advisor thought a job in that field might be hard to come by and suggested math, science and special education.

“I decided to take a few months and volunteer in a special education Sunday school class at my church to see if it was something I would enjoy. I absolutely fell in love with the individuals I was working with and the challenges of helping them accomplish a task,” Warren said.

For the last 19 years, Warren has worked with children with disabilities. Currently, she teaches a self-contained class for students with severe autism.

“My students work on a functional curriculum,” Warren said. “I have the opportunity to teach them things like household tasks. We also work on money skills. We do some of these things through role-playing, video modeling and interaction with general education peers, computer learning activities, task boxes, group activities and one-on-one activities.”

Warren also enjoys technology and finding ways to better the lives of her students. She is a Google Certified Educator and works hard incorporating technology into her lesson plans.

“As a Google Certified Educator, my list of uses for technology could be endless,” Warren said. “But…technology is not THE activity. Technology should be the tool that the teacher uses to enhance the activity. Technology is very beneficial because it is engaging and can enhance the activities teachers develop for students.”

But it seems like even after two decades, Warren is still just getting started.

Having finished her bachelor’s degree at AU, she returned to get her Master of Science in education and later to get her educational specialist in educational leadership. And she is a member of the College of Education’s first cohort in the Educational Doctorate in Educational Innovation program.

“The Ed. D. program is collaborative,” said Dr. Molly Quinn, interim chair of the department of Advanced Studies and Innovation. “It takes students who are very committed to their studies and inquiry while demonstrating the skills that are necessary for the doctorate level; but also willing to be challenged by others and collaborate to create something generative and beyond what you could do yourself. Karyn demonstrates all those aspects.”

Warren has presented at several conferences, including the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate Conference, the ISL Conference, the IDEAS Conference and the Columbia County Board of Education summer learning institute. She presented her research for her dissertation in March.

“My dissertation was on teachers’ understandings and perceptions of restorative justice. Restorative practices represent a shift in school culture that focuses on building trust, community and relationships. It’s a component of these practices that is the specific response to handling school discipline. The findings indicated that there was a relationship between the teachers’ understandings and perceptions. However, all of the teachers did not have an adequate understanding of restorative justice,” Warren said.

Quinn and Dr. Megan Buning, assistant professor of research in the department of Advanced Studies and Innovation, are Warren’s advisors for her dissertation. They described her as a hard worker who takes initiative when presented the opportunity.

“She is willing to take the extra steps to seek out additional information to support decisions,” Buning said.She always comes to me prepared with literature to support the changes she wants to make or support her decisions.  She has embraced the responsibility of becoming a scholarly practitioner.”

Before receiving her doctorate, Warren taught as an adjunct faculty member at Augusta University for 11 years, with her favorite class to teach being an introduction to exceptional children.

“I always loved having the opportunity to share not only what I know, but also real-world examples, with my students at Augusta University,” Warren said. “Even on difficult days in my classroom at school, I could come to the University and be re-energized. Many of the students offered me inspiration and new ways to look at things, so it was a learning experience for me as well.”

Overall, Warren said that Augusta University has played a big role in her life.

“I could not have made a better choice than I did 24 years ago when I applied to Augusta College. I not only have earned three – soon to be four – degrees from this university, I also met my husband of almost 20 years while attending my second semester. We have four incredible children, two of whom are currently attending Augusta University.”

Warren, along with other distinguished alumni from the nine colleges of August University, will be honored at the Summerville Alumni Awards Cocktail Reception and Banquet on April 27, during Alumni Weekend.

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Education faculty chosen to present at AERA Conference Wed, 11 Apr 2018 15:22:04 +0000 Augusta, GA.—Several faculty members from the Augusta University College of Education have been accepted as presenters for the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) annual conference. The conference is a premier national research society that strives to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public.

Dr. Molly Quinn, interim chair of the Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation, Drs. Niki Christodoulou and Darla Linville, professors in the Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation, will present about their CSRA Education Oral History Research Project. They have interviewed around 25 current and former educators about the significant events in education in the CSRA, and their role in those events.  They have analyzed the conversations about educators roles in the desegregation of the schools in this area, and will present these findings in the session “Critical Examinations of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture Across Curricula.”

Dr. Kim Barker, professor in the Department of Teaching and Leading, will be presenting three papers at the AERA. Barker’s ongoing research into the development of teachers who are effective and committed to children who attend the nation’s most challenging schools aligns with the theme of the conference this year: The Dreams, Possibility, and Necessity of Public Education.

“The main theme of my three papers is to present the effects of good and structured support for teachers and students in high need urban schools,” Barker said.

Dr. Andrew Kemp, professor of Curriculum Studies and Social Justice, will also represent Augusta University as the new title as program chair for the Critical Issues in Curriculum and Cultural Studies Special Interest Group. This honor is a national leadership position.

The conference is one of the most important and prestigious conferences in the country for teachers to learn from new research and share ideas with one another.

“I like connecting with a national community of scholars who work on the same topics that I do, and to hear what developments and new ideas are circulating in the field.  Presenting at the conference is a chance to get substantive feedback on your work-in-progress and push your own thinking about the questions you are asking and the analysis of your findings” Linville said.

The conference will be held April 13-17 in New York City.

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College works to preserve area’s past with oral history project Tue, 06 Mar 2018 21:02:16 +0000 AUGUSTA, GA. – Drs. Niki Christodoulou, Darla Linville and Molly Quinn of the Augusta University College of Education are working to preserve the history of the Central Savannah River Area’s educational practices in the form of oral history recordings. Click the image below to read this story.

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Professor wins national award for advocacy work Wed, 26 Apr 2017 21:49:29 +0000 AUGUSTA, GA. – Dr. Richard Deaner, professor of counselor education at Augusta University, has been selected to receive the 2017 American Counselor Association Counselor Educator Advocacy Award.

The ACA Counselor Educator Advocacy Award recognizes a counselor educator for work in fostering an awareness of and expertise in advocacy among counseling students.

“Advocacy is a foundation of the counseling profession, so the award is especially meaningful to me,” Deaner said.

Dr. Margaux Brown, professor of counselor education, nominated Deaner. She said that while her colleague is a great educator and mentor at Augusta University, his influence is strong nationwide.

“He has been seminal in the direction that ethics and rights and advocacy have taken in our profession. In fact, the writer of the professional ethics code referred to Dr. Deaner’s work when he talked about ethics at our national conference,” Brown said. “I feel like his service and advocacy are really under-celebrated.”

“This is a great personal honor, but I hope it also highlights the excellent quality of teaching, research and advocacy being accomplished by faculty in the College of Education and across Augusta University,” Deaner said. “We take seriously our responsibility to be advocates for our students, our community, and our professions.”

It’s an accolade that is well deserved, said his department chair, Dr. Michelle Bryan, who recalls that when she visited a class of his for peer observation, she became engrossed in the conversation and forgot she was supposed to be observing him.

“I started taking notes on techniques and strategies and trying to figure out how I could take them up in my own classroom,” Bryan said. “Anyone who has seem him teacher or who has enjoyed his teaching understands precisely why he has earned this award.”

“Dr. Deaner continues to show the impact of effective and engaging teaching,” said Dr. Zach Kelehear, Dean of the College of Education. “Advocacy for ethical practice is crucial when training young educators and counselors. And Dr. Deaner’s classes are full of students who clearly engage with him as a professor.”

That engagement is crucial to alumni success post-graduation, because the transition from classroom to practice can be overwhelming.

And because that transition from classroom to practice can be daunting, Deaner takes an active interest in each student’s experiences. “I believe strongly in creating service-learning opportunities where students can apply skills with real people in real settings,” he said. In addition to his award-winning teaching, Deaner is a researcher with numerous publications and presentations, and he is committed to diversity and student success.

Dr. Deaner has received multiple awards and honors for teaching excellence, including the University System of Georgia Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award (2016). He is a CACREP liaison and a member of the American Counseling Association Ethics Committee and has served as faculty advisor for the Chi Sigma Iota chapter since he began at Augusta University 10 years ago. In addition to his work for ACA, Dr. Deaner is a member of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, and Chi Sigma Iota International Counseling Honor Society.

Deaner has been on the faculty at Augusta University since 2007. He holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Virginia; an M.Ed. in counselor education from Lynchburg College; and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the University of South Carolina.

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Graduate student wins state counseling award Fri, 03 Feb 2017 23:45:35 +0000 Above, Traci Westin (back row, second from left) poses with faculty and students from the Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation.  From the bottom left to right is Dr. Meredith Rausch, Dr. Margaux Brown, Ashley Jackson, Travis Keels. From top left to right is Matt Bestic, Traci Westin, Tracey Carter (LPCA Eastern District Co-Chair), Joshua Littleton , Alfredo Perez and Alana Fletcher.

AUGUSTA, GA. – Traci Westin, a graduate student at Augusta University, has been awarded the Georgia College Counseling Association’s Graduate Student President’s Award (2016-17).

“This is a huge honor and we are excited that she is being recognized. She is definitely deserving of the award as she has already demonstrated tremendous passion and advocacy for the profession,” said Dr. Richard Deaner, professor of counseling.

Westin has served as both a graduate assistant and practicum student at Student Counseling & Psychological Services at Augusta University since Fall 2015.

“Traci plays many roles at our center, including providing direct clinical services, coordinating and providing outreach events, and working directly with me in developing psychoeducational presentations,” said Dr. Mark Franklin Patishnock, director of Student Counseling & Psychological Services.

Westin’s academic success, and her work helping to provide comprehensive mental health services to students demonstrated her dedication to her future profession.

The award provides opportunities for Georgia students who are in masters, specialist, or doctoral level counseling or counseling related programs. Winners of the grant receive a $750 cash prize, and registration, travel and accommodations for the annual Georgia College Counseling Association conference.

Westin has previously presented at the NCAA Peachbelt Conference on the topic of stress management, and is developing a presentation to educate and empower faculty at our institution to respond appropriately to students in distress. And at the Georgia College Counseling Association conference on Jan. 25-27, Westin presented on Laughter Yoga and Creating a Positive Work Climate.

“She is highly respected and seen as equal to the full-time clinical staff members that comprise our team. She is one of the most hard-working, professional, and humble yet extremely competent student I have ever had the privilege to work alongside,” Patishnock said.

Westin is a second-year student in the Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in the College of Education’s Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation.

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Buning named to SEC Women’s Legends class of 2017 Tue, 10 Jan 2017 21:50:07 +0000 AUGUSTA, GA. – Dr. Megan Matthews Buning, professor of research in the Augusta University College of Education, has been named to the Southeastern Conference 2017 Class of Women’s Legends, which showcases former student-athletes, coaches and administrators from 14 SEC member institutions.

“I do not have the words to express how honored I am that my undergraduate institution thought this much of me to select me for this honor. It’s incredible to be able to represent USC in this way. This reminds me of the skills I have gleaned through athletics and how powerful participation in sport can be,” Buning said.

Buning will be honored with the 2017 legends class March 1-5 in her hometown of Greenville, S.C., at the 2017 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament. Each legend will be honored during halftime of their teams’ first game of the tournament. And all 14 members will be honored as a group, participate in an autograph session, and be included in complimentary posters of the legends distributed at the autograph session.

“A legend is someone who is an exemplary model of the core values of the institution. A sports legend is someone who worked harder than anyone else, who was a leader on the field and in the classroom to achieve success,” Buning said. For her, no one exemplifies the title more than her late grandfather, Bobby Smith.

“The man was a God-fearing 28-year Marine master gunnery sergeant with the kindest heart you could imagine. He was my hero,” Buning said. “As for a softball legends, I always come back to the pioneers of the sport.”

Among the names she listed were her former coach, Hall of Famer Joyce Compton, former head softball coach at South Carolina; Joan Joyce, head softball coach at Florida Atlantic University and multi-sport athlete, including LPGA golfer and women’s national basketball team player; three-time Olympic gold medalist and strikeout record holder Lisa Fernandez; and two-time Olympian and winner of the Women’s College World Series Jennie Finch, now a color analyst for ESPN.

“This is an opportunity to encourage female athletes,” Buning said. “We feel self-doubt and defeat, and experience stereotypical behavior. The easy thing to do is to quit and go sit in a corner, but you have to see all of that as challenges – not barriers.”

Buning said she was frequently discouraged from following her passion and succeeding in sports, and struggled against quitting.

“I sometimes let doubt fuel me. But it’s important for us ladies to remember that hard work, persistence and passion pay off in sports and in life. Always keep trying to better yourself,” she said.

Buning played softball for the University of South Carolina as a pitcher, and is one of the greatest softball players in South Carolina history. She won 101 games for the Gamecocks – just one game shy of the all-time record – and when she ended her career in 2002, she was the university’s all-time leader in strikeouts, complete games, and innings pitched. She was an All-American pitcher, a three-time All-Southeast Region honoree, a two-time All-SEC pick and 2013 inductee in the USC Athletic Hall of Fame during her career. Buning received her Bachelor of Science degree in exercise physiology with a concentration in motor development and a cognate in athletic training from South Carolina in 2003.

“Playing sports in college, especially in the SEC, can seem brutal at times, but it was all worth it. Every time I see Williams-Brice Stadium, I tell anyone near me that I’ve literally run every step and ramp in that stadium,” she said. Still, she stresses that none of her successes came without other support from parents, coaches, friends, family and faith. But her experiences also launched her career and introduced her to her husband of 13 years, who was an athletic trainer for the men’s basketball team.

In addition to her playing experience at South Carolina, Matthews Buning pitched for the New England Riptides, of the National Pro Fastpitch league, who finished runner-up in the NPF Championship Series in 2004. After that, she worked as assistant softball coach for Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., from 2004-2007; served as associate head softball coach for Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., from 2007-2009; and coached the Ole Miss softball team from 2009-2011.

She received her master’s in sports psychology from Florida State University in 2008 and her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at Ole Miss. Buning joined Augusta University in 2014, and works in the Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation. Her research centers on female athletes, motivation and coaching behaviors – specifically coach communication style. She teaches research methods, quantitative methods and tests and measurements.

The full list of 2017 SEC Women’s Legends:

  • University of Alabama – Stacy Potter Inman, Swimming, 1992-95
  • University of Arkansas – Veronica Campbell Brown, Track & Field, 2004
  • Auburn University – Kerron Stewart, Track & Field, 1996-97
  • University of Florida – Sha Brooks, Basketball, 2007-09
  • University of Georgia – Tasha Humphrey, Basketball, 2005-08
  • University of Kentucky – Bernadette Madigan-Dugan, Cross Country/Track & Field, 1981-1985
  • Louisiana State University – Daniela “Dani” Reis, Volleyball, 1989-92
  • University of Mississippi – Van Chancellor, Basketball (Coach), 1978-1997
  • Mississippi State University – Marrissa Harris, Track & Field, 2006-09
  • University of Missouri – Evan Unrau, Basketball, 2000-2004
  • University of South Carolina – Megan Matthews Buning – Softball/ Pitcher; 1999-2002
  • University of Tennessee – Patricia “Trish” Roberts, Basketball, 1976-77
  • Texas A&M – Takia Starks, Basketball, 2005-09
  • Vanderbilt University – Dee Davis, Basketball, 2004-07


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